BRIDGEPORT, CT — Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp say they are "scrutinizing" the state’s recent agreement to pay off about $550 million of Hartford’s accumulated debt. Under a bailout deal, the state will pay off the city’s debt over the next 20 years, reports the Hartford Courant.
In a joint statement, the two southern Connecticut mayors said that while the deal is "an acknowledgement of responsibility," they are not sure the deal is equitable to the state’s other cities.
"While we evaluate the state’s new, half-billion-dollar bailout of Hartford, and recognize it as an acknowledgement of the responsibility the state has to assist its structurally, and perpetually distressed cities, we question whether it represents an equitable practice," the two stated.
They added, "Connecticut absolutely must have a consistent, comprehensive urban policy to lift all cities constrained by current tax laws, now compounded by tens of millions of dollars in state budget cuts.
"It seems the state continues to shortchange New Haven and Bridgeport – its two largest cities, with comparatively stable finances, while rewarding the past practices of other cities that put them on the edge of financial collapse.
"Connecticut requires comparable support for its two most populous urban centers and an economic development strategy for the Bridgeport/New Haven region. We’ll meet next week and present a consistent municipal aid program for all cities in the state."
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