State Budget Update – The State Teacher Pension Cost Transfer to Towns is Back

May 13, 2019

This is not good news.  We have to stop this.  We have to work together to stop this.

For Fairfield, this means $700,000 added to our expenses starting July 1.  Let me be clear, this $700,000 is not in our approved budget and would force us to make cuts to services.  This expense line will grow quickly – $1.4 million next year and $2.1 million the following year. This cost represents our fastest growing expense line item in our budget.

This pension cost transfer will put pressure on our Education budget and take money away from our students.  Because we value our teachers, we will also pay a penalty fee because we pay our teachers more than the state average.

This pension cost transfer will also force towns to raise property taxes. Connecticut property taxes are among the highest in the nation and this cost transfer makes them higher, raising the cost of housing in Connecticut. This cost transfer will hurt our most vulnerable residents – our seniors and lower income property homeowners.  We value these residents. We value our neighbors.

This transfer approach simply hits our town with another unfunded state mandate. This approach is a complete abdication of the State’s responsibility to fund the teacher pension costs.

Fairfield is third in total income tax dollars sent to Hartford to fund State government. In fact, in the last four years, we have sent the State over $1 billion when you combine income tax and sales tax dollars.  Our dollars fund school systems and social programs all over the state. Fairfield is doing more than its fair share.  This is not fair or equitable. We need to demand that the State spends our dollars wisely.

I have just received a letter from the CEA – the State Teachers organization asking our help to oppose this bill. I am working with other First Selectmen and Mayors to oppose this cost transfer. I am working with MetroCOG towns and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities to stop this transfer.

We are going to need everyone’s help to fight this….please contact your State Senator (tony.hwang@cga.ct.gov), State Representative (Cristin.McCarthyVahey@cga.ct.gov, 133rd District, brenda.kupchick@cga.ct.gov, 132nd District, or Laura.Devlin@housegop.ct.gov, 134th District), the Governor (via his Executive Assistant, Kathryn.damato@ct.gov) and Lieutenant Governor (ltgovernor.bysiewicz@ct.gov).  If you aren’t sure who your State Representative is, please visit www.fairfieldct.org/wheredoivote.

Please tell them you are opposed to this transfer of teacher pension costs. Simply put, it is a State program and the State should pay for it.

Thank you for reading,

First Selectman Mike Tetreau