December 28, 2016

END IT, DON'T MEND IT:

Connecticut's Spendthrift Capital Eyes the Wealthy Suburbs (Stephen Eide, 12/17/16, The Wall Street Journal)

When the Nutmeg State's next legislative session begins in January, lawmakers will face two crises: a budget shortfall of more than $1 billion and the looming insolvency of Hartford, the capital city. Though it doesn't make many national headlines, Hartford's budgetary challenge--taxed to the max, junk-rated and facing escalating deficits--ranks among the most serious of any American city. Bankruptcy might be the only way out.

Hartford's mayor, Luke Bronin, knows that a bailout from the cash-strapped state government is not a likely option. So he has turned to the suburbs for support in stabilizing the city's budget. At a town meeting Monday evening in Rocky Hill, a pleasant bedroom community to the south, Mr. Bronin spoke in grand terms about how "investing in getting cities strong helps economic growth for the state as a whole."

The mayor has talked up a "regional" solution to the city's woes. Interpretations vary as to what that means, but Mr. Bronin has floated the idea of a regional sales tax. If it is to help Hartford's bottom line, however, it would have to entail some sort of redistribution from higher-income areas.

Suburban taxpayers are perplexed as to how and why they should be responsible for Hartford's long record of mismanagement. 

Posted by at December 28, 2016 6:23 AM

  

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