With days remaining before the new year begins, the Malloy administration lowered the boom on municipalities on Thursday. The governor’s budget office announced $50 million in cuts to cities and towns with local construction costs baring the brunt of the reductions. Grants totaling $30 million in local construction projects were eliminated.
Education was also hit hard, with municipalities losing $20 million in the Education Cost Sharing grant. The wealthiest communities were particularly whacked. Greenwich, for example, lost 90 percent of its ECS grant or $1.3 million. Financially-strapped Hartford is also out another $250,000. The education cuts are on top of the $84 million cut at the start of the fiscal year, July 1.
The reductions were delivered to the General Assembly by letter, from Benjamin Barnes, the governor’s budget director. Barnes said he had not choice but to make cuts because of the current $50 million deficit the current state budget faces.
Just days before Republicans will be sharing power with Democrats in the Senate, soon-to-be Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano leveled the administration over the timing of the announcement. “The administration has known since August that they would need to hold back these funds from municipalities. But they chose to wait until now to let towns know how much they would lose, after half the fiscal year has already gone by, making these cuts more difficult for towns to absorb. This is poor planning at best, and at worst appears to be an attempt to bury bad news when people are focused on the holiday season,” said Fasano, quoted on the website CT Mirror.