Unfunded Mandates by Britta Lerner

Britta LernerAn unfunded mandate is a statute or regulation that requires a state or local government to perform certain actions, with no money provided for fulfilling the requirements. In Weston, unfunded mandates forced on us by the majority party in Hartford are costing our schools and our town dearly.* It’s time to say “no more.”

The big driver of local budgets is education.  Westonites want the best schools for our children and will pay their fair share of taxes to support that—but not if more money goes to Hartford than our schools and town.  Indeed, Hartford’s prevailing wage mandate increases Weston town and school building costs by 20-30% by forcing us to pay more for construction projects even if we secure a lower bid with a reputable contractor.  Weston gets just one penny for every dollar of income tax our residents send to Hartford and this year the Governor and Democrats cut Weston education funding by 50%.  Despite this, the state continues to issue mandates telling us what we must do without helping us cover the costs.**  Weston knows what is best for our schools and our town—we don’t need the state using us as a community bank account under the guise of regionalized cost savings and the need for statewide uniformity.

Help Weston and other small towns survive—tell Hartford that relief from unfunded mandates must be a legislative priority.

*There are more than 1,200 unfunded or partially funded mandates (Connecticut Conference of Municipalities)

**The Education Cost Sharing Grant is underfunded by an estimated $763 million and growing each year. (Connecticut Council of Small Towns).