Town officials and residents of municipalities from all corners of Connecticut and everywhere in between are bracing themselves for seven and eight figure budget cuts that will be potentially crippling to town infrastructures and education cost sharing budgets.

Prior to a scheduled Jan. 3 budget cutting session, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities ran a story on its web site urging municipal officials to keep the pressure on the state.

Interestingly enough, the average voter was not made aware of the budget cuts prior to the state elections in November, though now the issue is featured in radio and television commercials and has been picking up momentum in the print media as well.

What a wonderful way for incumbents to stay in office, keep hush about impending budgetary doom to the majority of the voting public and then scoop the issue up at the beginning of the next session.

At what was supposed to be a gubernatorial debate between Gov. John G. Rowland and his Democratic counterpart Bill Curry during October at Miskan Israel, Curry blasted Rowland for focusing on casinos and football stadiums rather than tax relief for the middle class. He pointed to the five-percent-decline in the state's average middle class income as well. Sure, let the working man pick up the slack.

Rowland did not respond because he was not there.

With governor's rescissions, proposed cuts and educational cost sharing cuts the estimated total could potentially come in slightly under $194 million though in defense of the state, it is a trend going on in every state in the union.

For years Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge have worked to maintain a fund balance, and now Rowland has recommended that municipalities use that fund balance to make up for the cuts. Bethany faces $182,605, Orange faces $169,773 and Woodbridge faces $102,165 in proposed cuts providing that the state digs out of the Educational Cost Sharing program, though it probably will not be cut that much.

It will all depend on whether or not state labor unions can agree to concessions, otherwise the State's Educational Cost Sharing program could be cut by as much as $94 million according to Rowland.

Final figures should be released in the coming week, and the CCM is pleading to the state, asking it not to pass its problems down to the municipalities. If the hammer does drop on the municipalities there is a chance that property taxes could increase not to mention potential hikes in sales and income tax. Hopefully that will inspire readers to email letters to the state letting officials know how they feel about budget cuts.

Email addresses: Governor John Rowland, governor.rowland@po.state.ct.us, House speaker Moira Lyons, moira.lyons@postate.ct.us, Senate President Kevin Sullivan, kevin.b.sullivan@po.state.ct.us.