Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Town budgets and state funding

Journal Inquirer
June 30, 2006

Do we have a budget problem in Vernon? You bet we do. So do Ellington, South Windsor, Stafford, and all the other area towns.

If we look at the end result, town services will be reduced and education will suffer. Instead, let's look at the root of the problem: lack of state funding.

Governor Rowland became a hero by lowering the state budget and giving a tax rebate. He did it by not giving towns money they used to receive for programs and road maintenance. Instead of the state raising taxes, the towns have been mandated to find the funding to fulfill certain programs without proper financial support.

President Bush mandated No Child Left Behind, but has not supplied funding for states to follow through. Attorney General Blumenthal said it is illegal for the federal government to mandate programs without supplying the funding.

I suggest it is illegal for the state to do this same thing to the towns. That is what the Taxpayers Association should be going after. How can politicians mandate a program and not supply funding for it?

I am asking the Taxpayers Association, teachers, and everyone who voted on the budget to write your state representatives and the governor and let them know you are upset about less funding and higher property taxes in our town. We are the only state without toll roads, so politicians from Greenwich don't have to pay tolls on I-95. That is a quick, easy way to raise millions per year.

Are you angry and frustrated? Did you vote on the budget? If you didn't, you have no right to complain.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, so start squeaking. Write your state reps; tie up their phone lines. Make your voices heard. Let them know we're tired of taxation without proper representation.

It's time to get our government, the one that is supposed to be representing the "little people," back to work on doing just that, and to stop playing politics. It's not about who's the most popular or best liked. It's about making our towns nice places to live and affordable to those who want to live there.

Lance and Edie Chernack