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Yankee Institute: Connecticut’s Cities are Broken, Spending Reform Can Fix It

January 18, 2017 By Staff
Yankee Institute: Connecticut’s Cities are Broken, Spending Reform Can Fix It

The Yankee Institute is out with a troubling new report on Connecticut's cities, but it has one possible antidote: reform the way cities spend taxpayer money.

On Wednesday, the Yankee Institute released a new report on challenges facing four of Connecticut’s major cities: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury.

Their bottom line? Cities are struggling, and more government spending won’t fix it:

The upcoming state budget debate will include proposals to shift more money to cities. [Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Stephen] Eide’s diagnosis suggests that additional state funding won’t solve the fiscal problems of the broken cities. The study points to labor reform as a more viable solution.

Don’t just raise revenue. Reform spending.

The gist of Eide’s argument is that growth in pension costs for city workers are fare outpacing growth in tax revenue. The result? Cities face budget crises, and state spending makes up an ever-larger portion of these cities’ budgets.

Carol Platt Liebau, the president of Yankee Institute, summarized what the state and cities can do to fix the problem:

“Rather than spreading failure from Connecticut’s cities, lawmakers should pass straightforward labor reforms. Municipalities of all sizes can prosper together when taxpayers can control local spending,” said Carol Platt Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute. “We all want safe, welcoming cities that provide jobs and thriving neighborhoods. To get there, we need labor reforms that allow cities – and all local governments – to provide better services at a good value.”

The report will no doubt contribute to the conversation as the state heads into budget season and cities like Hartford deal with budget crises themselves.