Posted on May 8, 2018 by rjoslyn
HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) hailed the House passage of a bill to prevent the executive branch from reducing Education Cost Sharing grants in the middle of a fiscal year.
HB 5171, which originated in the Education Committee, passed the House on a bipartisan 117-32 vote and would prohibit the governor from cutting ECS funding that has already been promised in the state budget to individual municipalities. Although if it is to become law, HB 5171 still needs to pass the State Senate and to be signed by the governor, Rep. Lavielle called its support in the House “an encouraging sign” for municipalities that there is bipartisan opposition to midyear education cuts by the governor.
“The fact that the state determines its municipal allocations each year after most towns have finalized their own budgets is already difficult for local governments and school districts,” said Rep. Lavielle, who is Ranking Member of the legislature’s Education Committee and participated in structuring the bill. “But surprise midyear cuts like those made last year by the governor can wreak havoc in local school districts, where many spending decisions must be made in the summer before the academic year begins. The unpredictability caused by the threat of midyear cuts is unfair to local leaders, to property taxpayers who are on the hook to make up the difference, and to families who depend on their towns’ public school systems.
“The strong bipartisan support for this bill that protects towns from midyear cuts is encouraging. I was pleased to work closely on this initiative with my Democratic colleagues in Education Committee leadership, and to see that we all shared the same enthusiasm for protecting towns and school districts from surprise funding decisions that prevent them from providing essential services their residents expect to receive,” said Rep. Lavielle. “I urge the state Senate to pass HB 5171 as soon as possible, so we can begin efforts to prepare an override of a potential gubernatorial veto. Passing this bill sends a strong message that we will stand up for our local leaders.”
HB 5171 now awaits action in the State Senate.