WEST HARTFORD — The town is set to receive about $1 million more in state aid for the upcoming fiscal year under the budget passed last week.
The town will receive a total $23.9 million, with nearly $1.6 million for non-education aid and $22.3 million for education aid. Both education and non-education aid are each up about $500,000 compared to the current fiscal year.
“This funding helps finance our most essential services and programs, including education, public safety, public works and facilities, and community services,” Mayor Shari Cantor said. “This state funding is more critical than ever to assist with our recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.”
The state Senate passed the two-year, $46.4 billion budget, 31-4, after a five-and-a-half-hour floor debate that grew contentious at times. The state House of Representatives had already approved it.
State Sen. Derek Slap, D-West Hartford, was among the legislators who voted in favor of the budget.
“This budget will help Connecticut continue its comeback from the pandemic,”Slap said. “We make critical investments in education, health care, our towns, workforce, and our seniors. At the same, we are making our budget fairer by increasing tax relief for working families through an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. This budget also keeps Connecticut on the path to fiscal health. Our Rainy Day Fund is strong, our bond rating is higher for first time in decades, and we’re paying off more than $1 billion in debt. I’m pleased that many of our Republican colleagues joined us in voting yes. If there was ever a time to come together, it is now.”
Cantor and Town Manager Matthew Hart applauded West Hartford’s delegation.
“I’m very pleased that the final state budget includes the sums that we had projected for the town council’s adopted FY 2021/22 budget,” Hart said. “At the municipal level, state aid is our second most significant revenue source following property taxes. This state-local partnership is critical to town’s continued success.”
While the budget does not include the sweeping reforms that liberal Democrats wanted, such as the proposed tax hike on the state’s wealthiest residents, it does include provisions to help the middle class and working poor.
Connecticut is expected to receive more federal funding through the American Rescue Act. That combined with state money will help a variety of urban-related programming, as well as summer and early learning programs.
There’s also money to support wage increases for long-term care workers, who threatened large-scale strikes if they didn’t receive better pay and benefits.
The budget puts money toward paying off the pension debt.
In a statement after last week’s state Senate vote, Gov. Ned Lamont praised lawmakers and the overall budget.
“We agreed across party lines that now is the time to ensure thousands of families have access to affordable childcare, the expansion of access to free and affordable healthcare will provide security to households, and investments in our future through workforce development will make our state stronger,” he said. “The investments in equity will lift up our state for generations to come.”