Elicker: Conn. Budget Proposal Will Not Save New Haven

Feb 15, 2021

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s latest budget proposal fails to meet the needs of the city, Mayor Justin Elicker said. New Haven faces a $66 million budget deficit.

Lamont’s current plan allocates less than $12 million to the city. In a statement, Lamont said the budget “is much more than a list of expenditures and revenues,” but also a “reflection of our shared values.”

Lamont does not plan to raise any broad-based taxes. Instead, he is hopeful the federal government will send additional coronavirus relief. He also wants the legislature to advance his proposal for recreational marijuana for adult recreational use, online sports betting and a mileage tax for truckers — in lieu of his failed toll proposal two years ago.

Despite these shared values, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said the current proposal will force his city into levying higher taxes on its lower-income citizens.

“The governor has made clear he does not want to raise taxes on the wealthy,” Elicker told Hearst Connecticut Media, “effectively raising taxes on the working poor in New Haven.”

The city is cash-strapped from increased pension payments, debt service, health insurance and other fixed costs, according to auditors.

Elicker said one of the only other alternatives to raising taxes would be making serious cuts to city programs, such as law enforcement and public libraries. Another alternative is if Yale University makes larger contributions to the city, which Elicker has pushed for since his election in 2019.

He said the state’s $3.5 billion rainy-day fund could provide additional relief to the city. So far, Lamont has only discussed “a partial drawdown” from this fund.

The current fiscal year in the city ends June 30.