August 18, 2017

Malloy shifts executive order funds, adjusts school aid

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

With no state budget in hand, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday reshuffled $100 million in current fiscal year spending, a move that mainly affects nonprofits and school systems and concerned other government leaders.

The plan includes maintaining education funds for the neediest school districts, but reducing aid to 54 districts and eliminating aid entirely from 85 school districts.

"In the absence of an adopted budget from the General Assembly, my administration is reallocating resources to pay for basic human services, education in our most challenged school districts, and the basic operation of government," Malloy said in a statement.

Specifically, Malloy restored $40 million to private nonprofit health and human services providers and made $60 million worth of other funding adjustments for the new fiscal year.

The changes to Malloy's June executive order, which was put in the place in the absence of a budget, include new municipal aid distributions associated with the so-called "executive order resource allocation plan."

In a letter to the governor, state Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes said the revisions to the June executive order were necessary to avoid "lasting damage" to the human services safety net.

Malloy called the decisions "nearly impossible" to make but said they will "force some of our municipalities – both large and small – to make similarly difficult choices of their own."

Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano, R-North Haven, called Malloy's adjustments "illegal" and evidence of a "dictatorship."

"His order flies in the face of the recent Superior Court ruling on education funding and violates state law," Fasano stated. "... Now that the state is broke, instead of uniting our state to pursue serious structural changes, he is threatening a unilateral decision that violates the judge's orders to bring fairness to education funding and is outright illegal. It will also guarantee massive property tax increases."

Joe DeLong, executive director of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, urged Malloy to consult with CCM to put forth its proposed municipal reforms and structural changes, which the agency considers more viable.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said in a statement that the school aid changes would have a "devastating effect" on many of the state's school districts.

"We intend to caucus with our members next week and continue our progress toward reaching a final budget agreement that provides predictability and stability to families, service providers and businesses," Looney said.

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