Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Friday defended the state’s controversial financial bailout of Hartford following complaints from other cities and some state lawmakers that the deal is too generous.
In March, the mayors of Bridgeport and New Haven called on state lawmakers to scrutinize the state’s $550 million bailout of Hartford. They questioned why the state would agree to cover the capital city’s debt payments for the next two decades.
State Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven responded by saying he and some other state lawmakers are considering modifying the Hartford bailout. He said they believed the deal they voted on last year called for only an $80 million two-year bailout.
Governor Malloy said that would do little to solve Hartford’s long-term financial problem.
“It’s long overdue that Connecticut come to grips with what we’ve always known, Malloy said, “And that is that property tax reliance on older, smaller but intensely occupied urban environments is not working.”
The state or other not-for-profit tax exempt organizations now own much of the taxable property in Hartford and Connecticut’s other large cities. Malloy said lawmakers have been unwilling to find a way to deal with this.
“I have proposed in the past that we take dollars from communities that have very low tax rates and spend them on communities that have very large tax rates and we are told time and time and time again that that’s an impossibility.” he said.
In the meantime, the Democratic governor said a state bailout is available to any city that is prepared to subject its finances to the state’s Municipal Accountability Review Board, the way Hartford has.