Budget Committee Juggles Tax Cut With Money Boost For Schools

Thursday night is the public’s last chance to speak about Mayor Joe Ganim’s $572 million spending plan for the budget year starting July 1 under review by the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee.

A public hearing will be conducted by Zoom/Teleconference at 6 p.m. The public
may dial in to this meeting by calling the following conference line and then entering the conference code:
Dial-In Number: (929) 436 2866
Meeting ID: 965 268 353

Ganim’s budget includes $2 million more for public schools, something education advocates assert doesn’t go far enough.

During his 2019 reelection, Ganim promised more money for schools while providing a tax cut that translates into this budget proposal $1.4 million representing roughly $35 savings per residential homeowner. Some budget committee members prefer to reallocate the $1.4 million to boost the total education increase by $3.4 million.

Last week Joe Sokolovic, who chairs the Board of Education’s Finance Committee, urged the City Council to step up funding for schools:

The city council must find additional monies for our children. We, as a city must step up at least as much as the city of Waterbury. Looking at the per pupil expenditures, provided to you by Ms. Siegel, does not show the whole picture. Waterbury spends $16,048 in total per pupil while Bridgeport spends only $14,697 per pupil, while this looks bad on its surface, looking even deeper it is much worse. Waterbury Public Schools receive tens of millions of dollars less from the state than does Bridgeport Public Schools. How is that possible that Waterbury Schools spend more per pupil than Bridgeport? When they have lower per capita income and smaller grand list? It is so simple yet it’s sad. Waterbury contributes about $106 million dollars in local tax dollars or $5,585 per student, while Bridgeport only contributes about $66.8 million for about 1,000 less students or $3,233 per student! A difference of $2,252 per student. If the city of Bridgeport funded its public schools at the same level as Waterbury, it would mean an increase of about $45.3 million enough to reverse every cut made over the last 4 years with some leftover to add services!

The budget committee is expected to execute changes to Ganim’s proposal this weekend in advance of a full City Council vote Monday night. The budget then returns to the mayor for possible veto action.



  1. Joe Ganim stick the $35 up your Narcissistic ASS!
    That’s not a Tax cut, it’s an insult to every Taxpayer, you can locate $4.5 million for your Cash Cow ( Harbor Yard Amphitheater Project) but not for our 20,400 Bridgeport students. Punk!

  2. It’s kinda like a curfew but voluntary.
    It’s not like EVERYBODY has to adhere to it.
    But their parents will be notified if we can find them.

  3. For the extraordinary budget year of 2020-2021, for a fiscally-challenged municipality such as Bridgeport, in a fiscally-challenged state such as Connecticut, in a country with its federal government in disarray (and under the auspices of a demented, autocrat/oligarchic-pawn) that has entered an economic depression in the context of a deadly pandemic, the latter of which has creditor nations on the ropes even as debtor nations require huge cash infusions, it is doubtful that Bridgeport’s $572 million budget is little more than fiscal musing.

    When the “dust” settles, and the economic damage of an ongoing pandemic becomes horrifyingly real to households and all levels of government, it will be realized that any government spending that isn’t absolutely essential — at the most basic level — will have to be eliminated from all budgets — especially for the “Bridgeports” of the world, where budgets are already describable in terms of threadbare, state and federal largess on a background of home-owner extortion…

    In a related vein; the Governor’s Corona Virus measures/mandates announced on April 7 include required considerations for municipal taxpayers (per mandate). Per the Connecticut Mirror (April 7), “… Among the executive orders issued by Gov. Ned Lamont since the COVID-19 pandemic began was Executive Order 7S, signed on April 1, 2020, establishing the “Deferment Program” and the “Low Interest Rate Program,” and requiring municipalities to enact either one, or both, to “provide temporary tax forbearance of property tax collection and reduced interest on delinquent tax payments to property owners under certain conditions…”

    In other words; the Governor’s Office anticipates extraordinary difficulties in the collection of municipal taxes during the next fiscal year, and probably for the next several years, considering the probability of a lingering pandemic and its enormous, lingering, economic fallout.

    So: There will not be $572 million available for spending in any REAL Bridgeport budget for the next fiscal year… Any federal and state monies made available to Bridgeport will be mostly for maintaining the basics, as tax collections by the City fall way short of what is anticipated, and state and federal aid to the City are reapportioned for “extra-budgetary” uses related to keeping the City from total collapse (ditto for the other ailing cities of Connecticut and the other fiscally-ailing states — which means pretty much the whole country… And, by way of salient example of budget items that will have to be crossed-off of the budget as contraindicated spending, is the use of scarce (expensive) bonding money for contraindicated ventures, such as the Amphitheater — by way of the accommodation of the breaking of development agreement by the developer for the latter.

    Any type of questionable, municipal profligacy that steers needed federal and state money away Bridgeport during these times of fiscal crisis — or, more accurately, “existential” crisis — will need to be eliminated by the CC before the budget is passed if Bridgeport is to have any hope of getting the massive federal and state support that it will need to weather the present, developing economic Depression…

    So: We need to forget about increasing any aspects of the municipal budget this year, and probably for several years to come, as real conditions define and impose real, massive cuts to state budgets, and their municipal dependents, even as the federal budget hemorrhages massive red ink in an effort to maintain the basic viability of the country as a whole (such that the latter word can retain its “w” in the spelling…).

    Happy budget-creation CC and City Hall… I don’t envy you — with respect to this task, especially…


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