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Is Windsor Too Dependent on Property Taxes?

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says Windsor is and that all of Connecticut's 169 towns are being shortchanged by the state.

Connecticut’s 169 municipalities have gotten little increased financial help from the state in the last five years and remain overly dependent on state aid, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says.

CCM, the main lobbying group for local communities, released a bulletin Monday to candidates for the state’s General Assembly urging them to make education funding a priority in the coming year, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

In Windsor, 82 percent of town revenues are expected to be made from local property taxes in the current fiscal year — just over $81 million of the town's nearly $99 million in budgeted revenues. Windsor's tax rate is just under 28 mills, and saw state aid, particularly with respect to education, drop significantly over the past few years.

State aid for towns overall stands at about $3 billion per year, while Connecticut’s 169 towns collectively raise about $9 billion annually from local property taxes, James Finley, CCM’s executive director, told the Mirror. State aid to towns has remained relatively flat over the last five years. When you factor in the rate of inflation, that means towns have actually lost financial ground during that five-year period, Finley added.

The state aid figures represent an over-dependence by towns on local property taxes, something the General Assembly should address by closing shortfalls in education funding to towns, Finley said.

"The key to property tax relief is education finance reform," Finley told the Mirror. "The overdependence on the property tax is unsustainable, and hometown Connecticut is in desperate need of revenue assistance."

Sheryl September 27, 2012 at 03:07 PM
If the towns go to the state for additional funding, just where do they think the state is going to get their money? By taxing us even more than they already to!! I'm just sick of towns and states not living within a budget when my family has been forced to curtail expenses in order to survive financially these days. I have a budge, I stick to my budget, I have nobody to tax to increase my revenue/income/earnings while the towns, state and Federal Governments have this HUGE pool of taxpayers to attack in order to fill their coffers. There is much more reform that needs to be done than simply going to the state for additional monies. In my opinion.
R Eleveld September 27, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I actually offered an alternative for partial funding of local budget. It was a little complicated the first year to protect taxpayers. A Town Manager thought it was worth 25% of his budget so it arguably had merit. The other issue is state mandated expenses and processes that the Town has no control over. That is unfair. Labor pushes budgets higher and that represent the majority of any Town budget. The labor costs are partially mandated or processes in negotiations are mandated and it really has become a tail wagging the dog. These things need to be discussed in the context of tighter budgets. Lastly, a major issue that few discuss is that taxpayers on a fixed income (SSI/pensions/savings), and those working have seen NO increase in income over the past 5+ years. Interest rates are low <1% reducing the incoe of those with savings, there have been few increases in SSI, and pensions are often fixed. Wage earners are seeing REDUCED incomes, net of taxes, and other costs. Yet we are asking these people to pay more in property taxes. There is something fundamentally wrong with that concept. A taxpayer sees a 0% increase in income, yet Town employees get a 2-4% increase plus the increase in benefit costs. Then again maybe I am the only one that sees this as a problem.
Kate S September 28, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I was so concerned with the increased borrowing by the Town of Windsor earlier this year that I addressed the Town Council regarding my concerns: I was the ONLY resident who showed up at the public meeting to express concerns about an increase in spending which converted to an increase in taxes. So, in answer to your statement, "Then again maybe I am the only one that sees this as a problem." no, I see it as a problem too! CT was named by Barron's two weeks ago as the worse managed state in the Union. I suppose there are some who are proud that we are #1 (in at least something!). They are probably the same ones who determined the worse performing schools should get more money. Where else in life do those who perform the least get the most financial reward? Did I hear someone say 'upside down?'

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