Connecticut's Governor recently released her proposed budget for the state. Included are additional monies to fund education. The plan calls for an additional $1.1 Billion to be given to towns and cities over the next five years to help pay for school costs.
Funding for these expenses will be derived from an increase in the state income tax of .25% in 2008 and another .25% in 2009.
While town leaders are pleased with the possibility of receiving additional funds to defray education costs, they are concerned that the final state budget will be probably be approved in June, which is after the local municipal budgets (which determine homeowners' property tax rates) are finalized. As such, town mayors and selectmen must determine whether or not to account for these anticipated state funds when planning their local budgets.
Newtown, Connecticut's First Selectman has stated that his town will move ahead with their budget under the assumption that they will receive the additional funds from the state. Should the extra state funds not be passed, then the town of Newtown - and its residents - may be faced with a budget shortfall.
Ridgefield, Connecticut's First Selectman does not expect to add the anticipated state funds into next year's budget. It is undetermined what affect on future years' property taxes these funds will then have if they are received - will they be used to reduce taxes in the next fiscal year, or will the town government utilize them for other expenses?
Danbury, Connecticut's Mayor expects the additional funds to lower town residents' property taxes.
As proposed, local Connecticut towns can expect the following increases over the current 2006-2007 numbers:
Bethel: 2006-2007: $7,372,181 2007-2008: $7,743,113 2008-2009: $7,992,825
Brookfield: 2006-2007: $1,202,507 2007-2008: $1,555,651 2008-2009: $1,793,389
Danbury: 2006-2007: $17,588,819 2007-2008: $23,078,118 2008-2009: $26,773,527
New Fairfield: 2006-2007: $4,017,911 2007-2008: $4,144,518 2008-2009: $4,268,854
New Milford: 2006-2007: $10,741,407 2007-2008: $11,999,340 2008-2009: $12,846,183
Redding: 2006-2007: $466,523 2007-2008: $723,556 2008-2009: $896,592
Ridgefield: 2006-2007: $1,381,767 2007-2008: $2,188,710 2008-2009: $2,731,946
Sherman: 2006-2007: $162,023 2007-2008: $259,975 2008-2009: $325,916
Unfortunately, it was not disclosed as to why each town would receive a different percentage increase in funds for education. From the current tax year to the 2007-2008 tax year, Danbury would receive a 31% increase in education funds form the state, while New Fairfield would only receive a 3% increase. Hopefully, additional information explaining these discrepancies in funding will be forthcoming from the governor.