Cities and towns won't see additional state aid under Governor Rell's proposed budget for the next two years. But local government leaders believe there is a way the state can help municipalities fill in the gap.
Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano says less money from the state means cities and towns will have to cut services to keep their budgets in the black. But DeStefano says the state can authorize municipalities to levy their own taxes.
"We have said to the state that we think part of the problem is revenue structure where cities and towns are only given property taxes as a way to finance local government. Particularly in a community that's seen a lot of commercial and retail growth. Frankly I'd like to do what most other cities and towns in Americas are able to do which is to levy some portion of sales tax to support service deliveries."
DeStefano says increasing sales tax is a better option than forcing municipalities to raise property taxes.
"You know the problem with property taxes is if you lose your job or your income's cut, you still have to pay your property tax. The virtue of a sales tax is you can choose not to purchase."
Destefano says another option is allowing municipalities to charge a commuter tax for people who don't live in the town or city that they work in.
These suggestions are also part of recommendations sent to legislators by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities