Since its launch in 2010, the Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE) has been identifying ways to make state and local governments more effective and efficient, and to make tax dollars go farther.
MORE has focused on promoting fairness and transparency within the tax system, providing relief from mandates for cities and towns, promoting regionalization, and improving educational services.
Here are brief updates on some of the commission’s activities this year, through its five subcommittees: Municipal Tax Authority, Board of Education, Regional Entities, Mandates, and Special Education.
Municipal Tax Authority
This subcommittee has focused on fiscal disparities between municipalities, and property tax reform. Among the group’s recommendations this year:
- Have the Program Review and Investigations Committee analyze the gap between municipal needs and the capacity of municipalities to meet those needs
- Provide municipalities with the full amount of funds anticipated from the municipal revenue sharing account.
These recommendations are currently in the form of legislative proposals for this session.
The Regional Entities Subcommittee has been finding ways to facilitate cooperation between different municipal organizations and to identify opportunities for consolidation when possible. The subcommittee has not yet issued formal recommendations.
The Mandates Subcommittee has thoroughly examined issues surrounding unfunded mandates and the execution of those mandates at the municipal and regional level. The Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) and the Connecticut Council of Municipalities (CCM), along with other organizations, have provided specific policy suggestions to ease the burdens imposed by unfunded mandates. While this subcommittee does not yet have any formal recommendations, it is continuing to work toward consensus.
Board of Education
Four working groups in this subcommittee have collectively determined that the many challenges faced by state school districts--such as the use of alternative fuels and school cancellations--are best handled at the local or regional level.
For example, the Transportation Working Group found that some coordinating is already being handled by Regional Education Service Centers (RESCs) throughout the state. The RESCs worked with the MORE Uniform School Calendar Subcommittee throughout the past year and plan to submit a bill to the Education Committee proposing regional school calendars.
Overall, the Board of Education Subcommittee is recommending greater district flexibility, increased time for the implementation of new curriculum standards, better professional development, uniform training models, and uniform data collection. RESCs were referenced throughout the recommendations as excellent resources for regional cooperation.
Last year, M.O.R.E. commission recommendations were finalized during the final weeks of the legislative session, so it is likely that the work done by the M.O.R.E. Commission will crystallize into additional pieces of legislation over the next few months.
For more information, visit the M.O.R.E. Commission website.