For too long, politicians in Hartford have made decisions about municipalities without understanding each region’s own preferences, challenges and opportunities. Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns are distinct in their needs: the shoreline town of Stonington’s needs are different than that of the hilly town of Salisbury. My administration will give more power back to successful municipalities to make their own decisions.
Businesses on Main Street should be able to work with municipal officials instead of a bureaucratic state government when making decisions. Teachers in classrooms shouldn’t be forced to teach to the test in order to meet arbitrary standards set for other school systems. Seniors should have needed rides and other resources that fit the town they live in.
In the case of underperforming municipalities, we need to use existing state infrastructure such as the Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB) to right the ship BEFORE cities and towns become insolvent. MARB is an 11-person board that was created by the state legislature in 2017. It’s charged with providing fiscal oversight, advice, requirements, and aid to eligible distressed municipalities. The financial burdens of Hartford and West Haven may just be the tip of the iceberg, and my administration will use the constitutional powers of the Governor to help set standards for cities whose Mill Rates are too high and whose finances are not in order. Sixty-one Connecticut towns and cities, home to 2.1 million people, were found to have elevated credit risk in an analysis performed for the Yankee Institute.
Rightsizing state government begins with giving more power and control to responsible local leadership. Through the years, politicians in Hartford have centralized more and more decision-making and permitting processes. We need to give more power back to communities that prove they are capable of fiscal responsibility, while making sure communities that do not follow prudent policies are steered in a better direction