The Board of Selectmen will host\u00a0Senator Toni Boucher and State Representatives Michael Ferguson (R-138) and John Frey (R-111) Saturday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. in the lower level conference room in Town Hall. The only item on the agenda is "General Local Budget Discussion; Impact of Governor\u2019s Proposed Budget." First Selectman Rudy Marconi spoke at a recent selectmen's meeting about the\u00a0nearly $4.4-million hit that Ridgefield would take next year under Governor Dannel Malloy\u2019s proposed budget. In reaction, the Board of Selectmen sketched out a three-part plan to fight back against what they see as an unfair targeting of wealthier suburban communities. The board gave Marconi the go-ahead to pursue three steps: Set up a meeting with State Rep. John Frey and State Senator Toni Boucher to get legislators\u2019 thoughts on the governor\u2019s budget proposal and how best to respond; Contact leaders from other affluent towns hit hard in the governor\u2019s plan, to see if there\u2019s interest in bringing a class action lawsuit against it; Explore the idea of applying pressure on Hartford by holding back a portion of the conveyance taxes on real estate sales that Ridgefield and other towns collect for the state. Consider step one checked off. \u201cThis is targeting Fairfield County, and that\u2019s wrong,\u201d said Selectman Bob Hebert on Feb. 8. \u201cWe\u2019re going to start throwing tea in the Norwalk River,\u201d added Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark. Malloy\u2019s plan The state has a two-year \u2014 or biennial \u2014 budget, and on Feb. 8 Malloy put forward a $40.6-billion budget proposal for 2017-18 and 2018-19. The $18-billion budget for next year, 2017-18, proposes about $1.4 billion in spending cuts, along with about $320 million in new revenues, to help close a $1.7-billion budget gap. Among the $1.4 billion in spending cuts is $408 million to be gained by transferring a third of the state cost for the pension plan that serves all public school teachers in Connecticut. The $4.4-million pension payment by Ridgefield that outraged the selectmen is the town\u2019s pension payment under the plan. Among the cuts in the governor\u2019s plan is $700 million in yet-to-be negotiated concessions from 15 unions \u2014 backed by the threat of laying off some 4,200 state employees, about a tenth of the state workforce, if a package of concessions can\u2019t be reached. The planned labor savings would rise to $860 million in the second year of the biennial budget. The revenue increase in the governor\u2019s budget plan also includes proposals to raise tobacco taxes, start taxing hospitals\u2019 real estate, and eliminate taxpayers\u2019 ability to claim a tax credit for local property taxes when they pay state income taxes. As if anticipating the sort of reaction his proposals got from Ridgefield\u2019s selectmen, Malloy\u2019s budget address to the legislature contained a plea for unity. \u201cAs we negotiate this budget, we should remember that we are all in this together,\u201d Malloy said. \u201cIt\u2019s more than just how my town or my community or my family did. It\u2019s also neighboring towns, neighboring communities, neighboring families, as well. We will rise or fall together as one Connecticut.\u201d Hard-hit suburbs As they discussed the governor\u2019s budget Wednesday night, the selectmen weren\u2019t in an \u201call in this together\u201d mood. Among the governor\u2019s budget goals is to increase support of troubled schools in hard-pressed urban areas, but the selectmen feared the local consequences of the budget would fall hard on Ridgefield schools. \u201cWe debate education every year in this town,\u201d Marconi said. \u201cThe educational impact he\u2019s trying to solve for the cities, he\u2019s made it worse for the suburbs.\u201d \u201cHe\u2019s going to bring down the education level statewide,\u201d said Hebert. \u201cIt seems to be not just \u2018not fair\u2019 but there seems to be a legal question,\u201d Marconi said. While Selectman Hebert\u2019s assertion the budget proposal is \u201ctargeting Fairfield County\u201d might be disputed by the governor, there are clearly winners and losers among various towns and cities, and Fairfield County\u2019s wealthy suburbs don\u2019t do well. In addition to Ridgefield\u2019s payment, Wilton would send $2.4 million to Hartford, New Canaan would send $2.6 million, Darien $3.6 million, Weston $1.5 million, Redding $506,000, and Greenwich $5.2 million. At the same time, the governor\u2019s budget would give a net of $322 million in state money to Hartford, $52 million to Danbury, $27 million to Norwalk, and $26 million to Stamford. The idea of approaching other hard-hit towns about the possibility of a class action lawsuit seemed to have unanimous support among Ridgefield\u2019s selectmen, as did the idea of withholding the state share of conveyance taxes. Conveyance taxes are a levy on real estate sales that the town clerk\u2019s office collects from the sellers when property transfers are filed. The town gets 0.25% of the sales price, and the state gets 0.75% of the sales price on properties up to $800,000, and 1.25% of sales over $800,000. The town budget shows its share of conveyance taxes at between $700,000 and $800,000 a year lately, so Ridgefield must be collecting well over $2 million a year for the state in conveyance taxes. Marconi said rather than forwarding the collections periodically, Ridgefield would bank them in a special account, let them collect interest, and see if the state misses getting its money \u2014 an attempt to put some financial teeth in the verbal protests against the governor\u2019s budget. Marconi said he might approach other area first selectmen about ways to fight the budget plan \u2014 particularly with the class action lawsuit \u2014 at an upcoming meeting of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments. \u201cDo I have the support of the board?\u201d he said. There was no vote, but unanimous verbal assent.