The two major mayoral candidates each agree that convincing state lawmakers to lift costly mandates on municipalities is crucial for Bristol and other cities.
“Fund the mandates or do not force them on municipalities like Bristol that face severe budget shortfalls over the next few years,” said Republican mayoral hopeful Mary Alford.
“We do not need gasoline in the form of mandates thrown on the budget fires,” she added.
Mayor Art Ward, a first-term Democrat who is seeking reelection in the November 3 election, has been one of the most visible local government leaders pushing state legislators this year for action.
Ward said he remains baffled why the Democratic-controlled legislature and Republican Gov. Jodi Rell have done so little to lend cities and towns a hand in these cash-strapped times.
Ward said that lifting unfunded mandates “costs nothing” for the state but would do more than anything else to ease the financial crunch on Connecticut’s municipalities.
Alford said that “any new state unfunded mandate can force drastic changes. It is up to those in power in Hartford, the Democrat majority, to take action that will save jobs and preserve public services.”
Ward said he has begged legislators to explain why they won’t back mandate relief, but they never offer a real answer.
Alford said that “if the Democrats in Hartford proceed to pass more unfunded mandates, it will become a greater hardship than already exists for budget makers next year and in the years to come. Give us a break, Hartford.”
Ward said he’s glad to have support from Alford. He said he hopes the General Assembly listens to the bipartisan voices in every town and city that are calling for relief.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has been pushing for mandate relief as well.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com