The CEO of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) says it’s his gut feeling is that the Malloy administration will reach a deal with state employee unions, staving off huge cuts in municipal aid.
Jim Finley tells The Hanging Shad that it’s his impression that Malloy’s people and labor will come to an agreement on some level of concessions that will allow the administration to fill the rest of the $2 billion gap over two years with unexpected, additional revenue that is coming in. The state is now expected to end the fiscal year with about $200 million in surplus funds. Whether or not the use of those funds to balance the budget would violate Malloy’s pledge to not use gimmicks or “smoke and mirrors” to balance his plan is debatable.
Finley says he is confident that the legislature won’t permit the cuts in municipal aid outlined in Malloy’s “Plan B,” doomsday budget—nearly half a billion dollars. “There no stomach for them [legislators] to enact municipal aid cuts,” Finley says. And if those cuts do go through? “It would have a devastating impact. Municipal services would be unrecognizable,” Finley said.
Finley’s phone is likely ringing off the hook with shaken municipal leaders who were expecting no cuts in state aid and crafted their budgets accordingly. With no deal on concessions, Malloy has said upwards of 5,000 state employees would be laid off and another nearly-$500 million would need to be cut—including aid to cities and towns.
The budget drama now seemingly shifts to the legislature where, as The Shad has reported, there is little aim to stop the layoffs but plenty of intention to stop the cuts. Which raises the question, “Absent concessions, where will the money to stave off the cuts come from?” More taxes? It remains to be seen.