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Wide Agreement On State Funding For Cities, But Divide On How To Pay For It

Courtesy of Pixabay

Democratic Connecticut Senate President Martin Looney’s proposal to increase state funding for cash-strapped cities has won the support of a bipartisan group of mayors and first selectmen.

Thomas Dunn is the mayor of Wolcott and president of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns. He said it's a good idea.

“Wolcott would not benefit too much from this in dollar wise. But in other avenues of watching our other towns and cities around us do better That's what’s important. That's why we are standing here together,” Dunn said.

Jamye Stevenson is the Republican first selectman of Darien, a wealthy town in Fairfield County. She is a member of the Connecticut Council of Municipalities that supports Looney’s proposal to provide more state funding for poorer cities and towns. But she does not support Looney’s idea of a mansion tax to help pay for it.

“I’m very hopeful that we get there without having to go down the route of raising property taxes, which would be a very divisive issue,” Stevenson said.

Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter also supports Looney's proposal. He said the mansion tax might not be necessary depending on state tax revenues that come in April.

“You know we are not going to make a real change in the financial struggles of our urban areas without a major bold initiative,” Ritter said.

Democratic Governor Ned Lamont has said he does not support new taxes.

Looney's proposal would provide more state funding for PILOT — the payment in lieu of taxes program that compensates towns and cities for tax exempt properties owned by the state, educational and healthcare institutions.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.