Kelly testifies against unfunded mandates

State Sen. Kevin C. Kelly (R-21) testified before the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee in support of Senate Bill 223, An Act Concerning Unfunded Mandates.

“The cities and towns that I represent struggle day to day to make ends meet,” said Kelly at the hearing on Feb. 1. “In an effort to provide municipal relief and prevent unnecessary mandates I fully support the initiatives put forward in this bill. Due to the state’s own fiscal troubles, coupled with a poor economy and the financial burdens residents experience through increased utility bills and gasoline prices, decreasing property values and the high general cost of living in Connecticut, our cities and towns need more help to better educate our children, protect our homes and keep our communities the great places they are to live, work and raise a family.”

Senate Bill 223 would sunset all current unfunded mandates on cities and towns and require a two-thirds vote of the members of each chamber of the general assembly to pass such mandates in the future.

“There are estimated to be some 1,200 mandates, many of which are not funded by the state,” said the senator.

Kelly, who represents Shelton, most of Stratford, and parts of Monroe and Seymour, concluded his remarks by expressing a desire to seek additional legislation in the future including an audit requirement for any large municipality in Connecticut which receives more than 35% of its annual operating budget through state grants-in aid.

He said that this step would ensure that state financial support is being properly used and monitored.

If waste was discovered, the funding could be redirected to another municipality where it could provide additional assistance.