About 70 municipal leaders descended upon the state Capitol complex Wednesday to seek more money when the state budget is finally hashed out.
The leaders arrived because important decisions will be made over the next two weeks by the budget-writing appropriations committee and the tax-writing finance committee that are facing deadlines on April 23 and 24, respectively.
During a policy briefing at the Officers Club adjacent to the Capitol complex, the mayors and first selectmen heard from top legislative leaders, including Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, Senate Republican leader John McKinney, and House Republican leader Larry Cafero.
“We were encouraged,” said Jim Finley, CCM’s CEO and longtime chief lobbyist. “All the leaders on either side of the aisle said they were committed to holding municipalities harmless, but both Don and Brendan said there are challenges to do that.’’
The legislature’s education committee rejected various cuts for municipalities, but the final decisions will likely not be made until late May or early June by the full House, Senate, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“What we’ve heard from legislative leadership is they are inclined to keep the state property PILOT where it is and keep the Mohegan funding in place where it is,” Finley told Capitol Watch in an interview. “The House Speaker is talking about keeping some base funding for Pequot-Mohegan. Right now, that is just under $62 million that would be saved for us.”
He added, “We’re encouraged by our discussions with legislative leadership. They understand how important this budget is to towns and cities.’’