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Mark Your Calendars: Hartford Mayor Says Insolvency 60 Days Away

September 8, 2017 By Staff
Mark Your Calendars: Hartford Mayor Says Insolvency 60 Days Away

Mayor Luke Bronin (D-Hartford) tried and has failed

Connecticut’s capital city, faces “insolvency within 60 days,” according to a CT Mirror report released Thursday:

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin warned Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature Thursday that the capital city is at risk of insolvency within 60 days, absent the additional funding it would receive under a new state budget.

Mayor Bronin has long warned Connecticut’s state legislature and Governor Dan. Malloy (D-Conn.) of Hartford’s unstable financial footing, authoring an article in 2016 comparing Hartford’s problems to a “fiscal hurricane”:

Hartford is facing a Category 5 fiscal hurricane. In only a few years, the problem will be so big that even eliminating the entire police department and the entire fire department would not close the deficits. The longer we let the problem go, the worse it will be. Hartford’s small businesses already pay twice what they’d pay in other towns, and we cannot raise their taxes further.

Bronin even tried and failed to suck Hartford’s suburbs into regionalism, which would have amounted to a bailout at suburban and rural taxpayers’ expense:

There are no easy ways out of this budget morass. It’s hard to accept that sacred cows must sometimes be sacrificed. But it may be that towns will have to now bear some of the burden to strengthen the cities that are essential to the state’s survival.

Meanwhile Connecticut still has no budget.

It seems Hartford’s in a financial twilight zone. While Hartford has “Connecticut’s highest commercial property tax rate — at 74.29 mills,” it still struggles to raise enough revenue to pay its bills.

The approaching insolvency comes even after the capital city’s business leaders stepped up, pledging millions if the city can bring spending under control and develop a “sustainable solution”:

The gift is conditioned on “being part of a comprehensive and sustainable solution for Hartford,” the executives said.

A Hartford bankruptcy has become, to some, a more “palatable option” as time passes. It would allow the city options for debt reorganization and needed spending reductions:

That may seem like a jump in logic, but one can argue that many of the negative effects of a Hartford bankruptcy are already “baked in,” and that there are few risks left to undertaking a responsible debt reorganization.

As Connecticut’s Democratic leaders near a deal for a much-needed state budget, once again choosing to solve state problems with higher taxes and more spending, Hartford’s slow road to bankruptcy is coming at no surprise to frustrated observers.