Bipartisan budget approved by Legislature; heads to governor's desk for approval

October 27, 2017

The budget that passed – which I voted for – avoided the worst that I had feared and included some, but certainly not all, of what I had hoped for Hamden and the state.

Here is what the budget means for Hamden and its residents:

  • All municipal aid for Hamden is preserved, including every cent of Education Cost Sharing and Alliance educational funding: More than $34.5 million in total aid in both fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
  • More than $31 million in bonding for renovation to our elementary schools, including West Woods and Shepherd Glen.
  • A new Education Cost Sharing formula that takes into account enrollment, poverty, wealth and the number of English-language learners, among other factors. This results in additional education aid to Hamden of about $500,000 starting in fiscal year 2019 with an additional $10 million over the next 10 years.
  • Renter rebate checks for low-income seniors in Hamden so they can stay in their homes.
  • Fully funds day and employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It also protects funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, as well as day care for the working poor.
  • The budget also lowers taxes for retirees by eliminating the tax on social security income and pension income for single filers with an adjusted gross income below $75,000 and joint filers below $100,000.

This budget is far from perfect. But without it, Hamden stood to lose millions. The mill rate, which is already above 45 mills, would have increased; crucial programs devoted to our school’s most at-risk students would have been cut; teachers would lose jobs; bonding for new schools would evaporate; and rental assistance to low-income seniors would have disappeared.

This was all just the tip of the iceberg. What’s worse is that momentum began to build for closing the deficit through deep cuts to programs that I support, and by ending collective bargaining in Connecticut.

While this budget is flawed, it simply would have been irresponsible for me not to vote for it given the devastating alternative for Hamden and its residents.