Study: Some Towns Spend Three Times as Much per Person
Comparisons Can Help Local Officials Understand Their Options

Aug. 31 – Connecticut towns spent between $2,300 and $7,300 per person in 2012, according to a Yankee Institute study released today, showing towns have plenty to learn from one another as they seek to wisely spend taxpayer dollars.

Download the study: Taxes at Home: A Comparison of Municipal Spending

Nearly half of all taxes paid in Connecticut are property taxes, collected and spent at the local level. Local officials should compare their budgets to neighboring and similar towns to assess their performance.

The goal of this study is to enable these comparisons. First, the study provides per person local spending data for all 169 towns from 2012 and a historical comparison to 1996.  The statewide data is a first step toward helpful comparisons between municipalities that can be built on by local efforts or future studies.

Second, the study provides an in-depth look at spending in four of the five highest-spending towns: Darien, New Canaan, Westport and Wilton. The case study of select Fairfield County towns shows a large disparity in spending even among towns that spend far more than most of the other towns.

“It is incredibly difficult to compare local spending across Connecticut towns,” said the Yankee Institute’s Zachary Janowski, lead author of the study. “Local leaders – especially the many unpaid volunteers – need all the help they can get to do their difficult jobs of wisely spending taxpayer money.”

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy is a Connecticut think tank that develops and advances policy solutions to promote smart, limited government; fairness for taxpayers; and an open road to opportunity for all the people of our state.

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