Legislature Doesn’t Act, Segarra Loses $8 Million Bet

We’ll have much more on this on the air later today.  For now, here’s the statement of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra on the bind in which he finds himself.

Any guesses as to whom the last line refers?

PEDRO E. SEGARRA

MAYOR

MAYOR SEGARRA ON NON-PASSAGE

OF A TAX BILL

— NEWS AND COMMUNITY STATEMENT—

(May 10, 2012) — Mayor Segarra issued the following statement following the adjournment of the legislative session and the non-passage of a critical bill that would have allowed the City of Hartford to generate an additional $8 million dollars in revenue:

“The result tonight is a reckless disregard for the residents and business owners of the City of Hartford.  After months of meetings, proposals and conversations – and six days of continuous discussions with all stakeholders – the entire legislative delegation finally came together to support House Bill 5156 (LCO Amendment 5565).  It was not a perfect bill, but it would have made essential technical corrections to Public Act 11-212 and allowed the City the ability to generate the additional revenue that was assured 3 weeks ago when a previous compromise was struck and my recommended budget was due.  The continual back-and-forth, the brinksmanship, the willingness by some to kill a bill or concept simply because it wasn’t 100% of what they desired will only end up hurting residents and business owners.

While I am angry that an important action was blocked, I have already taken necessary steps to begin addressing what will be a significant revenue shortfall.  Earlier this week I met with my finance team and began reviewing the most recent data, assumptions and projections available to see where modifications could be made with confidence and without causing unnecessary pain.  However, this is a significant hole and I stand ready and prepared to make what may well be hard decisions; decisions that will be severe, noticeable and may impact the delivery of important services.

While other possibilities still exist, such as a request to include this issue in any call for a special session by Governor Malloy, tonight marks a very disappointing low in my tenure as Mayor.  And to be clear, this is not because of the inability of the legislative delegation to come together for the benefit of Connecticut’s Capital City, it is because of disingenuous motives and an inexplicable unwillingness to compromise by those who would benefit from this bill the most.”

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Legislature Doesn’t Act, Segarra Loses $8 Million Bet

  1. peter brush

    it would have made essential technical corrections to Public Act 11-212 and allowed the City the ability to generate the additional revenue
    ——————————————————————————–
    Frankly, although I’ve browsed the proposed tax law, I don’t understand how it would “generate” revenue. But, I’m pleased our Strong Mayor is now prepared to make “hard,” “severe,” and “noticeable” decisions that may even “impact the delivery of services.”

    • Hey Peter:

      Not sure if your issue is with the word “generate.” But leaving that aside, it would have allowed the city to raise the assessment rates of apartments and residential properties — essentially allowing Segarra to raise taxes specifically on those property classes. He can still generate additional revenue without the tax bill. But he’ll have to do it with a mill rate increase across all property classes. At least that’s my understanding. I trust someone will tell me if I’m wrong.

      Jeff

      • peter brush

        Thanks, Jeff. I just read the Carlesso Courant piece from yesterday. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears to have been nothing more than a tax hike on apartment buildings. In stead of cutting spending to hold the line on taxes for everyone, a selective tax hike on apartments is how our muni guys express support for “home ownership.” I’d like to think that the Mayor and Council might find some ways to cut spending to close the budget gap, but will plan on further mill rate increases on the reduced market value of Hartford real estate.

      • Hey Peter:

        So, you’re right — I misspoke. Segarra’s budget raises the assessment rate for apartments and residences (see the revenue estimate section of the budget…think it’s 6-3), pending legislative action. The house delegation didn’t agree to raising the rate on residential, but wanted to give the city the authority to raise the apartment assessment rate all the way to the ceiling of 70 percent. At least, that’s my understanding. And that’s what failed.

        Jeff

      • One other nugget. Just spoke with State Rep. Matt Ritter. He says that at 10:30 last night, there was an amendment — this one would have raised the rates on residential property, too. But it couldn’t get the support it needed. More to come.

  2. Bruce Rubenstein

    Jeff to the best of your knowledge and belief the roles of Senator Fonfara and Oz Griebel werent mentioned in your post,could you please explain their roles in all this…

  3. Charlie Lynch

    If you raise the taxes on apartment buildings do these brain surgeons think that the landlords will simply absorb that tax increase themselves? No, they will pass it on to the renters. How can the do-gooders and defenders of the poor rationalize their support for this stupidity? And what exactly is Odd Greasball’s role in this? He loves taxes, doesn’t he?

  4. BWP

    I don’t agree with Charlie Lynch. The landlord can only pass that on as much as the market will justify the increased rent. So many rental properties are not inhabited by the owner, isn’t the city justified in attempting to bring up the tax rate on these properties, prior to jacking the rate on single and two family homes which are predominantly owner occupied properties? (at least they are for single families)

  5. peter brush

    isn’t the city justified ?
    ————————
    No. The City should figure out how much money it needs to fund all of its magnificent work, and tax everyone equally. If we could zone low-rent apartment buildings out (as per permission of the State) like suburban municipalities do that would be well worth considering.

  6. MrLogical

    Corporations and businesses don’t pay taxes, and neither do landlords. Customers and renters pay taxes. Pedro and the rest of the tax & spend Democrats that have been running Hartford and the rest of the state (with a few notable towns as exceptions….) seem to have never taken a basic Economics course. Perhaps it would be helpful to the legislative process if we mandated a basic Econ-101 class for all state legislators as well as all state agency heads. OBTW, don’t forget the Governor’s office and while we’re at it, let’s throuw in the Mayors and City Councils of CT’s largest cities – the cities that can’t seem to manage the expenditure side of their budgets.

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