How Much Will Wolcott Lose in ‘Plan B’?

by LonSeidman

After last week’s union rejection of an agreement with state government, the pointing of fingers has begun. Yet, those fingers aren’t willing to plug the $1.4 to 3 Billion leak in the state budget’s dam. But what exactly will change is yet to be seen. Constitutionally, it seems that the legislature is in control of the state budget still. Even after adjourning their session on June 8th, it is that branch of government who controls the state’s purse strings. Last Friday the Governor ordered them back into session. If he could make budget cuts – or at least budget cuts to the extent necessary to balance the budget – himself, he could have done so without summoning them back to the Capitol.

And so they go. Beginning today, the legislature will discuss how to do that. The Governor is issuing his own demands. A one page spreadsheet was released to the media Wednesday detailing where personnel and monetary cuts will be made. More than 6,500 state workers to join the unemployment lines as over a hundred thousand other state residents have done over the past five years. His original suggestion last week was that municipal funding wouldn’t be affected has been reversed as of Wednesday. Gov. Malloy is asking the legislature for greater rescission authority, where he could unilaterally reduce legislative budget allocations without going back to the legislature.

From municipalities, over $54.4 million will be cut in local allocations. Wolcott currently receives about $13 million for its $49 million combined municipal and education budgets. According to Senate Majority Leader Donald Williams (D-Brooklyn), none of the municipal cuts are expected to affect Educational Cost Sharing grants. These grants are the largest education grants to towns, although there are smaller allocations. At the current limit of 3%, Wolcott could lose up to $390,000, but this number might be high.

The Department of Transportation is also expected to suffer heavy budgetary cuts as road projects are put off or spread out for future years. The Dept. of Corrections’ workforce – who’s union most loudly rejected last week’s agreement – may be reduced by 15%. This will include a closure of one prison which was anticipated earlier this year. Yet, the extent of those personnel cuts is deeper than previously planned.

A spreadsheet released by the Governor’s office for proposed personnel and budgetary cuts can be viewed here . (courtesy: CTMirror).

As of press time, only about 50% of has been calculated. Allocations for ‘Town Aid Roads’ – which are used for paving, plowing and related expenditures – will be reduced by 50%. In total, Wolcott will lose at least $75,834 in its annual state budget allocation.

It is unknown how DOC cuts will affect prisons in Cheshire. Cheshire is home to Manson Youth Detention Center, Cheshire Correctional. Both are level 4 (out of 5) prisons. Cheshire has 1900 prisoners between both institutions. Earlier plans were to release non- violent criminals from some institutions resulting in a total of over 2,000 inmates into the general public.

Many state employees and Republicans have called upon the Governor’s office to reduce his own staff. It should be noted that Gov. Rell only had 22 filled positions in her administration. Malloy will lay off 3 staff members, but still have 25 employees. Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman will lay off two of her nine current employees. Her office is largely ceremonial in addition to her job of presiding over the State Senate when it is in session. In contrast, Lt. Governor Michael Fedele only had four staffers during his tenure.

Read more about potential impacts and a detailed plan released by the Governor’s office at CT News Junkie.com

Impact on Transportation: http://blog.tstc.org/2011/06/28/what-will-connecticuts-plan-b-budget-mean-for-transportation/

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