CCM RUNNING ADVERTISEMENTS SUPPORTING GOV. MALLOY’S BUDGET; WILL THEY HAVE TO CHANGE THEIR TUNE?

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), the statewide group of cities and towns across the state, is running a heavy schedule of radio ads backing Gov. Dannel Malloy’s controversial budget. CCM’s effort is called “Do the Math” and urges people to call their state representatives and state senators and ask them to support Malloy’s spending plan.

As it stands now, the Malloy budget does not cut aid to cities and towns and keeps Education Cost Sharing (ECS) even-funded. ECS is the state’s education aid to cities and towns. But the key to the prior sentence is “as it stands now.” The Malloy budget is under siege from just about every sector. If or when the “doomsday,” alternative budget has to be deployed, CCM might be singing a different tune.

Malloy has already made it clear he will not raise taxes beyond the $1.5 billion he is already proposing. Two areas that we’ve learned this week he will be targeting are state agencies and the state workforce. Malloy budget director Benjamin Barnes sent out memos to commissioners telling them prepare for a 10-percent budget cut and state employee layoffs. The additional, possible draconian cuts would be necessary if the administration can’t get the concessions from the unions he needs to balance the budget.

What’s not clear is whether the governor would consider reversing course and cutting local aid which in turn, would cause municipalities to raise property taxes to make up the difference. CCM wouldn’t be so supportive in that case.

This is not pure speculation. There is already precedent. In one of the bills that would implement Malloy’s budget is a provision that would give the governor the power to include local aid in his recission or cutting power. Current law exempts municipal aid from the governor’s recission capability. CCM is strongly opposed to the change. They may eventually be opposed to changes the governor is forced to make.