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Your Take: Are Towns Too Dependent on Local Taxes?

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities reports aid to towns has remained flat in the last five years. Are towns too reliant on property taxes to raise evenue and balance budgets?

Connecticut’s 169 municipalities have gotten little increased financial help from the state in the last five years and remain overly dependent on state aid, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says.

CCM, the main lobbying group for local communities, released a bulletin Monday to candidates for the state’s General Assembly urging them to make education funding a priority in the coming year, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

State Aid Flat

State aid for towns stands at about $3 billion per year, while Connecticut’s 169 towns collectively raise about $9 billion annually from local property taxes, James Finley, CCM’s executive director, told the Mirror.

State aid to towns has remained relatively flat over the last five years. When you factor in the rate of inflation, that means towns have actually lost financial ground during that five-year period, Finley added.

East Haven Mill Rate Increase

East Haven is also one of the town's across the state this year that was required to raise its mill rate in order to increase revenue to its town hall coffers.

The Town Council approved a 2012-13 town budget in April of $86,708,754 — which raised the town's mill rate to 30.95.

The budget represents a spending increase of 1.68 percent, or $1,433,084 over the previous year's spending plan. This includes an additional $500,000 — a 1.13 percent increase — for the Board of Education.

Property Tax Reform

CCM reports the state aid figures represent an over-dependence by towns on local property taxes, something the General Assembly should address by closing shortfalls in education funding to towns, Finley said.

"The key to property tax relief is education finance reform," Finley told the Mirror. "The overdependence on the property tax is unsustainable, and hometown Connecticut is in desperate need of revenue assistance."

What do you think: Are towns overly dependent on property taxes? Should Connecticut pursue some sort of property tax reform? Let us know your take in the comments below.

Bob Fawkes September 26, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Nothing to see there, Dave. Move along now...
CAjones September 26, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Husband and wife banter......it's just the cutest.
Sam Giglio September 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
For East Haven there is a plan but at this time know one wants to even sit down and talk about how it can work. In a Public Hearing format and two minutes to speck you sure cannot get the point across. This will take many people on the Town side of the budget and on the BOE side of there budget to see what the future holds for the Town. The old High school sits in front of the plan and in 8 to 10 years the reduction in School Buildings will set the standards of a Town that can reduce the cost of playing higher taxes, increase property values, and make the BOE put its efforts into Education not buildings. It will take Strong Leadership with a goal of moving forward to accomplish this
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Flowers September 27, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I don't understand the point of this article. The state is broke, although they still spend money on useless programs, so how are they going to help towns. Ultimately the property owning, working citizens have to pay via property, sales or income tax or the state and local govt has to borrow and let somebody else worry about paying in the future.

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