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Klarides, Fasano: Cities and Towns Need Lawmakers to Get to Work, Not Delay Budget Process

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HARTFORD – House and Seante Republican Leaders are opposed to asking towns and cities to delay their local budget processes to accommodate state budget uncertainties. House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) and Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) raised concerns about Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats’ letter asking towns to consider changing their local budget schedules, and urged the governor and lawmakers to instead commit to completing the state budget process with a sense of urgency.

“Rather than asking 169 towns and cities with various unique situations to change their schedules, we believe lawmakers at the Capitol need to commit to doing our jobs and focusing our full attention on solidifying a budget together as soon as possible,” said Sen. Fasano and Rep. Klarides.

Sen. Fasano and Rep. Klarides said that asking towns to delay their budgets would create significant challenges and confusion in towns across the state.

“We believe it’s wrong to ask towns and cities to deal with the burden of delaying their schedules just to take the responsibility off of lawmakers to move the state budget process forward as quickly as possible,” they said. “The only thing different this year than in past years is that Gov. Malloy is acknowledging that his budget is completely unrealistic and his municipal aid projections are nowhere near what they will look like at the end of the budget process. The governor is acknowledging that he failed to offer a realistic budget. But that doesn’t mean all 169 towns and cities should change their schedules that they follow each and every year to accommodate that failure. Lawmakers should ramp up our efforts to do our jobs and get towns and cities the information they need to plan accordingly.”

The Republican leaders also raised concerns about how the governor’s proposal would allow state statute to supersede municipal charters, which are protected under current state law.

“If the state moves forward with asking towns to delay their local budgets, it raises the question of whether the state could supersede local charters on other issues too, which is concerning on many levels.”

“Asking municipalities to change their timelines once again puts the onus on towns and cities to cater to the legislature, and shows a lack of willingness from those in the Capitol to buckle down and focus on what has to be done on our end. Republicans are committed to putting in the time and the effort necessary to get this job done. Rather than spending time trying to negotiate acceptable language for changes to local charters, we believe our towns and cities would be better served if that time was dedicated to working on the budget together so that municipalities could more quickly get the answers that they count on every year.”