October 2, 2017

Hartford Democratic Delegation Blasts Republican Budget for Dis-Investing in Hartford

Standing on the steps of Hartford City Hall, the Hartford legislative delegation of state Senator Doug McCrory and state Representatives Brandon McGee, Angel Arce and Joshua Hall today called out the failed Republican state budget for its huge tax increases on Hartford city residents, businesses and entertainment venues while simultaneously withdrawing needed support for renovations to the downtown XL Center and for sentencing Hartford to almost certain bankruptcy by offering little state aid to address the city’s precarious financial position.

The Hartford Democrats said they approve of Governor Malloy’s Thursday veto of the Republican budget and will not attempt to override his veto.

“The Republican budget is an insult to the people who live here in Hartford, to the companies doing business here in Connecticut’s capital city, and to Hartford’s future as a whole. I won’t vote to override the governor’s veto of the Republican budget—it was the right thing to do,” Sen. McCrory said. “I remember a few years ago when Connecticut Republicans unveiled what they called an ‘urban agenda.’ Now we see what that agenda really is: its tens of millions of dollars in car tax hikes for the residents and businesses of Connecticut’s largest cities, including $14 million more in Hartford alone. Republicans end the Small Business Express program, which has saved 1,600 jobs in the city. There are zero Republican dollars for renovating the XL Center, and just a few million dollars in Republican aid for Hartford when the city needs $40 million. The Republicans even have a new tax on teachers. We as a state have got to do better for Hartford and its people.”

“The budget vetoed by the Governor clearly shows how Republicans do not care about Hartford,” said Rep. Arce. “Republicans fail to understand that without a financially stable and vibrant Hartford, the suburbs and the state will suffer. That’s why the budget must continue programs for business growth and job creation that have a proven record of success; funding for rehabbing the XL Center; and keeping the mill rate cap on the car tax. The Republican budget would have picked the pockets of the city’s poor and middle-class residents.”

“The current budget crisis is real and demands sacrifices that without a doubt will impact everyone in the state,” Rep. Hall said. “However, the Republican budget that was rightfully vetoed by the governor did nothing to resolve the existing challenges we have without getting us deeper into long-term fiscal trouble. It also didn’t address the severe fiscal issues faced by the City of Hartford that would negatively impact not only the city, but the region and the state as well. Sound bites about the Republican budget passing with bipartisan support do not reflect the truth of a plan that is unbalanced, unfair, and far from getting us back on track. Working together on crafting a serious budget that puts our capital city and Connecticut’s best interests before partisan politics is past due.”

“I support the governor’s decision to veto the Republican budget as it would absolutely devastate the residents of Hartford, Windsor and Connecticut as a whole,” Rep. McGee said. “Under the Republican budget, the 5th District would lose millions of dollars in education aid as well as vital services like mental health, opioid addiction, and teen prevention pregnancy programs. Even though the governor has vetoed the Republican budget, the Republicans have expressed their desire for a veto override. I do not support this decision and instead encourage Republicans to meet Democrats halfway and work in a bipartisan manner to pass a budget that is fair for all Connecticut. This budget must support the working class, fund vital services that the most vulnerable residents rely on, distribute education funds fairly, and provide our workforce with the necessary tools to improve Connecticut’s economy—all things that the Republican budget does not do. Only then will a budget be signed by the governor.”

The Hartford Democrats urged Governor Malloy and all parties to continue talks toward reaching a bipartisan budget agreement.

Under the terms of the Republican budget that was vetoed:

  • Hartford residents and businesses—including large local employers like Eversource, Connecticut Natural Gas, Travelers, Aetna and Hartford Hospital—would pay $14.1 million more in local automobile taxes for any cars or trucks they have on the city’s tax rolls. The Republican budget ended a Democratic program that caps local car taxes at 37 mills, thereby costing 24 towns and 16 other separate taxing districts a total of $64.8 million in increased automobile taxes. Under the Republican budget, Hartford residents would have paid $14.1 million more; Waterbury $11.3 million more; Bridgeport $9.8 million more; New Britain $4.4 million more; and East Hartford $2.85 million more. In Hartford, the All Waste trash-hauling firm would have paid another $118,000 in motor vehicle taxes next year under a Republicans budget; Freshpoint (one of the largest wholesale produce companies in the Northeast) an extra $92,000; and United Parcel Service (UPS) another $90,000. A Hartford resident with a 2012 Honda Odyssey minivan assessed at $12,600 now pays about $403 in car taxes; under the Republican budget, that tax bill would have soared to $936. In Greenwich, the same Honda pays just $141 in automobile taxes.
  • The Republican budget makes significant cuts and qualification changes to Connecticut’s Earned Income Tax Credit program, which provides a small tax credit for low-income individuals and families who have a job, but who do not earn enough to file state income taxes. Republicans cut $153 million from the EITC program, which in 2011 provided 16,000 Hartford residents with an average $654 tax credit (total $10.6 million). Republican budget cuts to the EITC program would have resulted in an income tax increase for thousands of Hartford residents.
  • The Republican budget includes NO MONEY for Connecticut’s highly successful Small Business Express grant and loan program, which has provided $18.6 million to 118 different Hartford businesses that have hired or retained 1,600 jobs in the city. The Democrats proposed $20 million in SBX funding.
  • The Republican budget ends the Roberta B. Willis Scholarship program, which this year is providing 703 Hartford students with $1.6 million in scholarship tuition (the third-largest amount of any city in Connecticut).
  • The Republican budget provides NO MONEY for improvements to the XL Center, even though the renovations are supported by large and small businesses owners throughout Hartford as a necessary investment in the city’s economic health. Democrats proposed bonding $115 million for XL Center renovations.
  • The Republican budget provides Hartford with just over $7 million in aid to avoid bankruptcy; the Democratic budget provided the city with $46 million.
  • The Republican budget ends the current 10 percent admissions tax exemption on tickets sold at Dunkin’ Donuts Park and the XL Center, meaning fans of the Yard Goats, UConn men’s and women’s basketball, the Wolf Pack, kid’s shows, musical concerts, bull riding etc. will pay 10 percent more to see these events.