Connecticut’s 169 municipalities have gotten little increased financial help from the state in the last five years and remain overly dependent on state aid, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says.
CCM, the main lobbying group for local communities, released a bulletin Monday to candidates for the state’s General Assembly urging them to make education funding a priority in the coming year, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
In Groton, the Town Council approved a tax rate of 20.22 mills this year, an increase of 7 percent over the previous mill rate of 18.89 mills.
The increase came after Representative Town Meeting approved a general fund budget of $120.89 million for the fiscal year; the budget represented at 2 percent increase from last year’s spending.
State aid for towns overall stands at about $3 billion per year, while Connecticut’s 169 towns collectively raise about $9 billion annually from local property taxes, James Finley, CCM’s executive director, told the Mirror. State aid to towns has remained relatively flat over the last five years. When you factor in the rate of inflation, that means towns have actually lost financial ground during that five-year period, Finley added.
The state aid figures represent an over-dependence by towns on local property taxes, something the General Assembly should address by closing shortfalls in education funding to towns, Finley said.
"The key to property tax relief is education finance reform," Finley told the Mirror. "The overdependence on the property tax is unsustainable, and hometown Connecticut is in desperate need of revenue assistance."