Rick Lopes

State Senator

Rick Lopes

Deputy Majority Leader

Fighting For You

April 30, 2021

New Britain Delegation Members See Promise in State Budget Investing in Towns and Education

The Democratic co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee unveiled a proposed biennial state budget. The proposed budget invests in Connecticut’s towns and public education without exceeding the state spending cap or touching the $3.5 billion Rainy Day Fund.

State Senator Rick Lopes (D-New Britain, Berlin), State Representative Robert Sanchez (D-New Britain), State Representative Manny Sanchez (D-New Britain), and State Representative Peter Tercyak highlighted several promising provisions of the budget, such as an increase in PILOT to New Britain and Berlin.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced how important it is for us to invest in our cities and towns so they can provide an array of critical services that benefit residents’ quality of life. This budget reflects that importance by boosting state funding to New Britain and Berlin, which will support the well-being and safety of our residents,” said Sen. Lopes. “Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted what we’ve long known: the underfunding of New Britain’s schools. It is critical that the city’s schools have the necessary resources to close gaps in academic opportunity that have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. Greater education funding moves us closer to achieving educational equity, which will benefit the long-term future of all our students here in New Britain”

“In New Britain, there had been no effort by our local administration to increase education funding even with the added and unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. I fought hard to make sure our students received help with additional state funding for education and I am proud this budget reflects that effort,” Rep. Robert Sanchez said. “Increased educational resources that were sorely needed will contribute to our recovery over the coming years.”

“The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in our society and how government needs to be prepared for any eventuality. That is why resources and how they are allocated in the budget are critical to preparedness and the ability to respond in a timely and effective manner,” Rep. Manny Sanchez said. “This budget reflects a renewed awareness and commitment from our leaders to focus on funding the important areas that affect our everyday lives.”

“The pandemic has once again exposed the lack of funding and resources that have long been deprived from our school system here in New Britain,” said Rep. Tercyak. “If we want to get serious about promoting equity and equal educational opportunity for all students in New Britain, we have to invest more into our schools. The increased funding that will be coming to our public schools and essential services is a step in the right direction and an investment in the future of New Britain.

Under the proposed state budget:

  • New Britain is estimated to receive about $9.6 million for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years through the Tiered PILOT Program. This figure would represent a little over $4.56 million increase from 2021 fiscal year estimate.
  • New Britain is expected to see back-to-back yearly increases in education funding under the Education Cost Sharing Formula (ECS) in the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years. New Britain is estimated to go up from about $95.7 million in 2021 to receiving over $99.6 million in 2022, then around $103.6 million in 2023
    • Adult education funding for the city would experience an increase over the next two years as well of an estimated roughly $580,000 in 2021 to over $624,000 in 2023

In calculating all total statutory formula aid for New Britain, the city would receive over $8.5 million in greater funding between 2021 and 2022. This figure would go up to over $12.4 million in more estimated total funding between 2021 and 2023, which is the equivalent of over 4.6 mills.

  • Berlin is estimated to receive over $27,000 for both fiscal years of the budget, which is an increase from about $6,100 through PILOT the town is estimated to receive for the 2021 fiscal year.
  • Berlin would continue to receive its 2021 adult education funding amount of a little over $11,000, with a slight uptick in both 2022 and 2023.

Other budget highlights include:

Cities and towns:

  • Keeps the 2017 bipartisan state budget promises related to municipal Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding and maintains the current rollout of the ECS funding formula, providing an additional $108 million to cities and towns over the next two years. It also provides an additional $4.7 million in FY 22 and $9.4 million in FY 23 to school systems with higher numbers of low-income students and English Language Learner students.
  • The Municipal Revenue Sharing Account was established by Public Act 15-244 as a diversion of one-half of 1 percent of sales tax revenue primarily for three municipal grants: 1) supplemental PILOT funding to towns with high levels of tax-exempt property, 2) reimbursement to municipalities that lose revenue as a result of the car tax cap, and 3) general revenue sharing grants to towns. MRSA has never been funded but, under current law, the $377 million diversion into the account is set to take effect in FY 22.
  • Fully funds Local Health District state grants with funding of $2.7 million in both FY 22 and FY 23, an increase of 75 cents per-person in the formulaic grant.

Education, from birth to college:

  • Provides $14 million in FY 22 and $15 million in FY 23 from the estimated FY 21 surplus for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system to fully implement debt-free community college. Bills under consideration by the legislature would provide ongoing revenue from online lottery revenues for debt-free community college, with growing revenues expected from that source in the out years.
  • Provides funding of $2,078,000 in FY 22 and $1,969,100 in FY 23 to reflect the elimination of fees paid by parents or legal guardians of children receiving Birth to Three services and to expand coverage to children who turn age three on or after May 1, until the start of the school year.
  • Provides $250,000 each year for the Farm-to-School Grant Program implementation which assists schools in procuring food from local farmers, nutrition/health education, school gardens and education about local food systems.
  • Provides $110,548 in FY 22 and $114,800 in FY 23 to support one engineer intern to enhance response to drinking water issues in schools undergoing construction projects, and one environmental analyst to assist the agency in its continued administration of safe drinking water standards for public drinking water.

The Appropriations Committee budget proposal now forms the basis for legislative branch negotiations with Governor Lamont and his executive branch budget proposal that he unveiled in February. The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end on Wednesday, June 9.