Sometimes the small print produces wonders. Tucked into the recently approved, voluminous state budget that could make an ordinary person’s eyes recoil into oblivion is a six-line maxim with a seven-figure action.
In Hartford parlance it’s called an implementer, “A bill that changes statutes to put into effect or “implement” the provisions of the adopted state budget.”
22293 (3) The city of Bridgeport shall be due five million dollars, on or
22294 before the thirtieth day of September, annually, which amount shall be
22295 [(A) paid from the annual appropriation, from the General Fund, for
22296 reimbursement to towns for loss of taxes on private tax-exempt
22297 property, and (B)] in addition to the amount due such city pursuant to
22298 the provisions of subsections (b) or (d) of this section.
OIB reported last week on the $10.8 million extra Bridgeport will receive for the municipal budget year starting July 1 for reimbursement of payments in lieu of taxes, the so-called PILOT program covering colleges, hospitals, government buildings and churches not taxable to host communities.
The language above is now institutionalized into state law meaning $5 million is guaranteed to Bridgeport every year “in addition to the amount due” in this case $10.8. So the total Bridgeport will receive is closer to $16 million.
What happened, according to state bean counters? Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney of New Haven engineered a $49 million PILOT windfall to rescue the finances of his city. The Elm City, due to Yale and vast medical institutions, has far more tax-exempt property value than Bridgeport.
Still, Bridgeport’s State House members (not its two state senators Marilyn Moore and Dennis Bradley) argued what about us? Flush with extra tax receipts from Fairfield County’s gold coast and federal stimulus dough, state revenues have more to offer cities in competing need.
Bridgeport State Reps. Steve Stafstrom and Chris Rosario jawboned another $5 million for Bridgeport, money now institutionalized into state law gleaning revenues Bridgeport finance officials can count on crafting future budgets, something they never had before.
If I’m Mayor Joe Ganim and city budget makers I’m sending Stafstrom and Rosario gift baskets of … anything they want!