Big-city mayors blasted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal Friday, saying it could lead to increased local property taxes and possible future layoffs of police and firefighters.
The mayors complained that the complicated budget is not transparent – one of the often-repeated hallmarks of the Malloy administration. They also complained that Malloy has proposed shifting so much money to public education that he has cut funding in many other categories that cities and towns use to pay municipal employees who patrol the streets and plow the snow.
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia said the budget offers proposals that Malloy has historically opposed, including passing costs along to the cash-strapped cities and towns.
“I honestly believe that if Governor Malloy was still Mayor Malloy of Stamford, he would be standing with us today,” Moccia told reporters at a news conference Friday. ”We are faced with rising property taxes. We are faced with providing millions of dollars for extra school security, extra police officers. … And yet, as pointed out, we get no assistance and we actually get reduction.”
He added, “This is not a budget for the cities. This is a budget for the state.”
It was an unusual display at the Capitol as Democratic big-city mayors, including Bridgeport’s Bill Finch, New Haven’s John DeStefano, and Waterbury’s Neil O’Leary, all stood to say they did not favor the budget proposed by the Democratic governor. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is known for holding press conferences against budget proposals, but that was often Democratic mayors like DeStefano who were criticizing plans by Republican Governors John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell.
Despite working with Malloy as fellow mayors for years, both DeStefano and Finch supported Democrat Ned Lamont against Malloy during the 2010 Democratic primary for governor.
DeStefano added, “This whole budget makes the tax structure more regressive, shrinks the tax-base of the job-producing centers of the state [in the big cities] and makes their financial positions more urgent.”
But Malloy called a press conference Friday afternoon to specifically rebut the mayors’ claims and complaints. He said the mayors need to make tough budget decisions in the same way that he has at the state level.
“Change is hard, but we must partner together to set our priorities to find ways to give our middle class a much-deserved break,” Malloy said of the mayors. ”Listen, I ran a city for 14 years. It’s not an easy job. I certainly understand it.” Continue reading