Revisions made by the state to aid provided to the towns with no state budget in place show Branford essentially losing all state aid, including receiving no Education Cost Sharing (ECS) monies.
Governor Dannel Malloy sent out the number Friday, showing total state aid as part of the 2016-17 budget coming in at 2,857,063; the new Malloy plan reduces that to just $21,252, an amount designated for adult education.
Many towns have been scrambling, nervous over potential reductions in state aid and the possible need for supplemental tax bills that may become necessary as the state continues to fail to pass a budget for the current year.
However, Branford took a more proactive approach, essentially budgeting for the worst case scenario. The pan eliminates any possibility of a supplemental tax bill, and uses part of past years savings to offset the drastic reductions in state ad under Malloy.
What we still do not know is what the possible impacts will be should a budget be passed in the near future. Recent talks have included attempts to increase revenue at the state, including an increase in the state sales tax.
However, it remains unlikely that increased revenue would be seen by towns like Branford, who are in a fiscally strong position. Last month, Malloy sent out letters to towns asking for an update to the current fund balance and other monies on hand, raising concerns that Malloy would essentially use the towns strong fiscal status and responsible budgeting against them.
What does seem to be promising is that the initial Malloy proposal that included, not just eliminating aid to towns like Branford, but actually sending them a bill for teachers pensions, has no support in the state legislature.
But here is where it gets tricky.
If monies to the town were to be preserved, it would likely include a sales tax increase. Right now, the House Democrats are pushing to make that 6.99%, the Senate Democrats are pushing for 6.75%; neither plan would get any Republican votes.
No Republican votes for either plan means a veto-proof majority does not exist, which would allow a Malloy veto, and the implementation of his plan, which eliminates most of the aid to towns like Branford and Guilford, and can return the teacher pension payment option, which would charge towns.
State representative Sean Scanlon stated that he would not vote for any plan that would cut the aid to Branford and Guilford to the extent of the Malloy plan, and it is unlikely other members of the delegations would either.
Meaning this: the legislature has until the first scheduled Education Cost Sharing payment, which is in October, to have a plan or the Malloy plan goes in. To do that, the House is looking at a potential vote the second week of September. That plan will include a sales tax increase, but keep much of the state aid to Branford and Guilford.
However, without a veto-proof majority, the budget can still be stopped by Malloy, and see him move forward removing almost all state aid to Branford and Guilford, as he has consistently tried to do starting with his initial budget proposal.