I wonder if this year’s Barnum Festival, with Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti serving as ringmaster, will experience some added fireworks.
Apparently there’s something grand going on regarding Shelton beyond its grand list. Federal investigators have impaneled a grand jury to look into development improprieties in that booming construction city. Couldn’t Lauretti share just a bit of his city’s mighty grand list with Bridgeport?
Federal investigations are hyper stressful for those stuck in the crosshairs. Boy, don’t I know that. Hopefully, Lauretti’s not involved in any of this stuff but he’d be wise to get a lawyer sooner than later, just in case. Grand juries are conducted in secret, but know this about them, if you’re called as a witness, once you’re done you can walk out of the room and tell everybody what you talked about. A grand juror cannot, a prosecutor conducting the proceedings cannot. But you as a witness can tell all. So that’s how word can get out about them.
If indictments are coming they tend to occur about six months after subpoenas for records go out. Maybe as ringmaster, Lauretti can call up the ghost of fellow Republican P.T. Barnum and make it all disappear.
Speaking of disappearing acts, Mayor Bill Finch is hoping he can vanish some of the upcoming tax hit in his first budget due out next week. Word trickling out of city hall is that the city’s looking at an initial five-mil tax increase. That can change as the proposed budget bends its way through the city council and the city gets a better handle on state money expected to come its way.
Of course, it’s better to project the worse possible scenario out of the box. Better to lower expectations. That way city officials look better when the mil rate is finally set, and hopefully lower than initially submitted.
What’s a five-mil tax hike for a home in the North End, Black Rock, Brooklawn and Upper East Side? Yikes!
Taxes are going up in Bridgeport. The good news is you’ll get some money from the feds to cover the hike. When the Bird Man was talking about giving back $600 to every taxpayer during his election campaign, I guess he meant it would come from the feds, not the city. How prescient!
News release from Congressman Chris Shays
Economic Stimulus Payments to Bring $1.3 Billion to Connecticut
Bridgeport, CT – In conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Congressman Christopher Shays, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia noted today that starting in May, economic stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples will be issued by the IRS based on 2007 tax returns. The IRS estimates that 230,000 Connecticut residents who do not typically file a tax return could qualify for the rebate, so encouraged those people to file.
“I am pleased the Congress worked on a bipartisan basis to get this relief to Americans as quickly as possible, and acted in a responsible way to stimulate the economy and try to head off a recession,” said Shays. “This funding is a good step toward helping residents of the Fourth Congressional District meeting mounting economic challenges.”
“The federal government’s economic stimulus package will be helpful to Bridgeport’s economy and will help continue the major revitalization going on in Bridgeport right now,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “It will also help mitigate the high cost of living and property tax burden facing Bridgeport residents. Property tax reform continues to be one my administration’s top priorities at the state level.”
“This initiative will help many local families,” said Mayor Richard Moccia. “I wish to thank Congressman Shays for his support and urge Norwalk residents to take advantage of the Taxpayer Assistance Centers where they can get their questions answered.”
To receive the payments this year, residents must file a 2007 tax return. The IRS will determine eligibility, calculate the amount and send the payment, which will be in addition to taxpayers’ refunds.
Many people are eligible for the payments but may not know it, however, and so may not file a tax return because their income is too low or their benefits are nontaxable. If they don’t file a tax return, the IRS will not know the name or address to which the payment should be sent.
Residents who do not normally file a tax return but who have at least $3,000 in qualified income may be eligible for a minimum payment of $300 for individuals or $600 for married couples. Qualifying income may include earnings from wages or self-employment, or be received as benefits such as Social Security retirement, Railroad Retirement or Veterans Affairs payments to disabled veterans or veterans’ survivors. It also can be from a combination of wages and these benefits.
There are some restrictions. People must have valid Social Security numbers for themselves and children. Those who are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, or who are eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, do not qualify.
Those who already file a tax return each year need do nothing more to file their tax return. The IRS will do the rest. Those who normally don’t file a return can use Form 1040A with just a little information, and taxpayer assistance centers in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford will be opened extended weekend hours on March 29th and April 12th to help residents file for their rebate. In addition, free tax preparation sites or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP tax sites are open in each city for appointments to fill out the appropriate tax rebate forms. Those interested in this service can call 2-1-1 for locations.
For more information, and to calculate the amount of your rebate, go to the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov.