Posted on February 14, 2020
HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today raised questions over the distribution of $16 million more in municipal grants and asked the chairs of the Finance Committee what formula was used to hand out the money in advance of a long-awaited, and delayed, vote on tolls.
In an unusual circumstance, neither the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis or the Office of Policy and Management could, or would, provide any details.
Klarides said her office was told by the OFA to direct any questions to the chairs of the Finance Committee, state Sen. John Fonfara and state Rep. Jason Rojas. Klarides wrote that she welcomed the additional funding because it helps towns and cities, but questioned why only 26 towns were singled out.
“The additional $16 million in funding would only go to 26 cities and towns, which is concerning to me and I would imagine to all other legislators who represent the other 143 cities and towns that wouldn’t receive an increase.”
Klarides said her office initially asked the non-partisan OFA how the formula was determined to hand out the grants. OFA was not privy to the details of the formula. “When OFA contacted OPM, they were told that we would need to contact the chairs of the Finance Committee for further information regarding this grant,” Klarides wrote to the two Democratic chairs.
A vote on tolls has been delayed for months as the governor and Democratic leaders attempted to round up votes for the controversial tolls. Polls have consistently shown a majority of Connecticut residents oppose them and a recent public hearing at the Capitol drew big crowds.
Klarides pointed out that Gov. Lamont tied final approval of a bond package to the toll issue. “The governor announced his ‘debt diet’ and deprived towns and cities of money they needed for critical services such as road repair and maintenance. Now he has added hundreds of million to the bottom line as a vote on tolls has approached. We would like to know how these towns were singled out for additional money,” Klarides said.