Seventy-two percent of Connecticut voters oppose balancing the budget by using local property taxes, instead of state funds, to cover the teacher retirement costs, according to a statement from the Connecticut Education Association.
The survey found that voters do not want the state to shift its financial obligations onto them, and if legislators approve such a plan, voters will make their anger known at the polls next year.
“While we recognize that the state is facing ongoing budget challenges, shifting state funding obligations for essential services onto already-strapped cities and towns is not a viable solution,” says CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg. “The public wants honest, fair, sustainable solutions to the state’s budget crisis, not increased property taxes. Residents want the state to pay its own bills, not transfer another financial burden onto property taxpayers, and they won’t support legislators who don’t fight back against this plan.”
More than two-thirds of voters (69%) want their legislators to vote against any plan that shifts costs from the state to cities and towns. The majority of voters (64%) said they would not vote for legislators who support this cost shift plan.
Policymakers are considering plans to shift $408 million in state costs for teacher retirement plans onto cities and towns. In West Hartford, that equates to roughly an $8 million increase, 2.8% of the town’s current budget. The town would be forced to increase property taxes by 1.35 mills (a figure representing the amount per $1,000 of the assessed value of property, which is used to calculate the amount of property tax).
The Local Property Tax Responsibility Survey of 600 Connecticut voters was commissioned by the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) and conducted by Lake Research Partners in April.
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