Posted on May 4, 2018 by Greg MacKinnon
HARTFORD – State Representative Mitch Bolinsky (R-Newtown) voted in favor of new legislation that would protect Education Cost Sharing (ECS) dollars allocated to municipalities like Newtown from being cut by the Executive branch. The bill, H.B. 5171: An Act Prohibiting the Executive Branch from Making Rescissions or other Reductions to the Education Cost Sharing Grant During the Fiscal Year, was approved by the House by a final vote tally of 117-32. It now heads to the Senate and, hopefully, from there to the Governor’s desk.
Rep Bolinsky said, “In recent years the governor has treated education funding like a bargaining chip. Remember, in 2017, he stripped Newtown of more than $7-Million before we had it restored. Actions like this create an inequitable allocation of education dollars to cities and towns throughout Connecticut. This legislation will prohibit the governor from arbitrary cuts to ECS funds. This not only preserves educational excellence in Newtown but, it also prevents surprises in the Board of Education’s budgeting process, ultimately averting the kind of budget anxiety so many people felt in 2017.”
According to Bolinsky, the bill strikes current law that allows the governor to reduce or eliminate state-budgeted cost-sharing dollars after towns and cities lock in their local budgets. Additionally, it exempts ECS aid grants from executive-branch reductions to achieve General Fund budget savings, specifically for Fiscal Years ‘18 and ’19.
“Considering the state’s fragile fiscal condition, it is important to protect the core functions of state government, like education. ECS funding should never be on a discretionary chopping block, especially after towns craft their local budgets around their commitments from the state. When unilateral cuts are made, the effects locally can be devastating,” concluded Bolinsky.
The legislation received bipartisan support. The Senate must take action on the bill prior to May 9, 2018, for it to become law.