First Selectman Stevenson weighs in on House Democrats proposed budget
DARIEN — More than a week after House Democrats proposed a new, more restrained budget than the original proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in February, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said it’s an improvement on the original, though more information is needed.
“I do want to acknowledge that the House Democrats budget, although I haven’t seen a good summary of it to date, does have some good components to it,” Stevenson said at a Monday night meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
Those positives included, according to Stevenson, a cap on the amount of bonding, the Democrats’ proposed opposition to sharing teachers’ pension costs and a different approach to how taxes would be raised.
“It differs from the governor’s proposed budget in which way taxes will be raised. In this particular iteration of the budget there is a proposal to raise the sales tax from 6.35 percent to 6.85 percent,” Stevenson explained.
A local option one percent restaurant tax is also possible. Malloy, however, is not a fan of the plan.
“The governor does not agree with raising the sales tax. I think he would rather push some expenses onto municipalities and have us at the local level raise taxes so that the state doesn’t have to,” Stevenson said.
The potential downfall to the Democrats’ plan, Stevenson said, has to do with a consolidation of state and municipal government functions. Stevenson said such consolidation was of “tremendous concern” to her, though without further detail she wasn’t sure exactly what it might look like.
“When that was discussed during the legislative session, there was actually talk of municipal government facilities taking on state functions within those facilities,” Stevenson said. “It could be a restructuring of how state government service is delivered.”
Stevenson said Monday that she’d just heard from State Rep. Terrie Wood (R-141) that a potential vote could take place Sept. 14.
“Hopefully we’ll have some more information over the coming week or two,” Stevenson said.