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GOP Leaders to State: “Incomprehensible” That You’d Pay $500M of Hartford’s Debt

March 29, 2018 By Staff
GOP Leaders to State: “Incomprehensible” That You’d Pay $500M of Hartford’s Debt

Len Fasano and Themis Klarides announced their intention to reduce aid to Hartford by $8.5 million next fiscal year, if the state goes through with a 20-year deal to pay Hartford's debts.

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) sent a letter to Malloy budget leader Ben Barnes and State Treasurer Denise Nappier (D-Conn.) on Wednesday, asking they not go forward with a 20-year, $500-million deal to pay Hartford’s debts.

The Republican leaders’ leverage? They warned they will cut aid to Hartford “by the amount equal to any assistance provided to the City of Hartford that is above $40 million” – $8.5 million in fiscal year (FY) 2019, which begins in October.

“We are writing to you to emphatically request that you not sign the financial assistance agreement between the State of Connecticut and the City of Hartford,” Fasano and Klarides wrote. “[I]t is incomprehensible why either of you woudl make such a significant commitment to tie the hands of your successors, future legislators, and future Governors.”

Fasano and Klarides argued that the bipartisan budget deal passed last year included two years of aid to the capital city, not a 20-year commitment.

Fasano and Klarides also noted they would plan to continue cutting municipal aid to Hartford in subsequent fiscal years, by the amounts the state is scheduled to pay out under its deal with Hartford.

Hartford’s city council officially approved the deal, announced last week, on Monday. Mayor Luke Bronin (D-Hartford), a gubernatorial candidate, has been celebrating the agreement and touting his “dramatic” labor savings (the record suggests otherwise).

Fasano and Klarides suggest, though, that a 20-year commitment from the state will “[undercut] the state’s leverage in its relationship with Hartford.” That may be especially true if Bronin, who’s party to the deal, becomes the next governor.

No matter which side comes out a winner, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.