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Hartford Budget: Bronin Brags Of $10M in Labor Savings, Barely Mentions $40M State Bailout

April 17, 2018 By Staff
Hartford Budget: Bronin Brags Of $10M in Labor Savings, Barely Mentions $40M State Bailout

Mayor Luke Bronin is out of the gubernatorial race, but that doesn't mean he'll continue to be trouble for state taxpayers.

Mayor Luke Bronin (D-Hartford) dropped his gubernatorial bid on Monday, leaving one less protégé of Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) in the race. That doesn’t mean that state taxpayers are safe from the young mayor, though, as Hartford’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget shows that the state will be on the hook for a big portion of the city’s budget.

Bronin dropped his budget on Monday night, after leaving the gubernatorial race. He brags of labor savings three times in his press release.

This budget retains $27 million in cuts to services and personnel made in the last two budgets, in addition to $10 million in achieved labor savings.

…“In the last two years, we’ve made tens of millions of dollars in difficult cuts, and we’ve achieved significant labor savings in partnership with our unions, saving us $10 million for the coming year.”

…The budget includes: … $10 million in savings from labor agreements with four of the City’s largest unions.

What Bronin is not as upfront about, at least in his budget release, is the money Hartford may get from the state in its recent deal with Connecticut, to pay Hartford’s debts.

Buried, in the sixth paragraph of Bronin’s letter to city residents and on page seven of the executive summary (emphasis ours):

In March, as authorized by the General Assembly, the City and the State entered into a Contract Assistance agreement under which the State will make debt service payments for the City on its outstanding general obligation debt, totaling approximately $540 million in principal. The State may require the City to refund and restructure its debt, which we anticipate will likely result in annual State Contract Assistance payments of less than $40 million.

To be clear, while Bronin brags of $10 million labor savings, state taxpayers are on the hook for up to four times that annual amount to pay off Hartford’s debts – possibly a 20-year commitment.

What’s more, Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) has argued that the General Assembly, in fact, did not authorize a 20-year agreement between Hartford and the state, but just two years of assistance.