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Grogins Appointed Chair Of Key Legislative Committee, Tax Reform Top Priority

December 7th, 2014 · 11 Comments · News and Events

Auden Grogins

State Rep. Auden Grogins

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey has appointed Auden Grogins the State House chair of the Planning and Development Committee that oversees matters relating to local governments including tax structure, housing, urban renewal, fire, sewer metropolitan districts, home rule and planning and zoning. This is the first time the position has ever been held by a representative from Bridgeport, according to a news release issued by Sharkey.

Grogins’ appointment will allow her to focus on issues impacting Bridgeport such as tax relief, blight elimination, government reform and sewer regionalization as the committee deals with all matters directly related to cities and towns.

For instance, the government reform bill advanced by Grogins and her State House peer Jack Hennessy to enforce the City Charter prohibiting city employee city councilors would go before the Planning and Development Committee. The bill had strong State House support but was blocked by outgoing State Senator Anthony Musto who was defeated in an August primary by Marilyn Moore.

Sharkey

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey.

“I am honored to be named Chair of the Planning and Development Committee,” says Grogins. “This is exciting news for Bridgeport! This chairmanship will allow me to better serve our community because of the strong and direct impact the Planning and Development Committee has on municipalities.”

Sharkey is expected to make reform of the state’s property tax structure and automobile taxes a focal point of the legislative session that starts in January.

“As Chair of the Planning and Development Committee, tax relief is going to be one of my top legislative priorities,” says Grogins. “I look forward to working with the Speaker on ways we can ease the burden on municipalities, allowing them to lower property taxes for residents. I plan on looking for ways to improve the state’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. I also plan on looking into a uniform mill rate for automobile owners, as Bridgeport has the highest car tax in the state.”

The state’s PILOT program reimburses municipalities a portion of revenue losses for tax exempt properties such as state buildings and hospitals. Critics of the funding formula argue that Bridgeport is being shortchanged millions of dollars that would go toward easing local property taxes.

“The Planning & Development Committee plays a critical role as to the state’s relationship with its municipalities, and Rep. Grogins not only brings her legislative experience to her new role as chair, but her experience as a representative of our largest city,” said Speaker Sharkey, a former chair of the Planning & Development Committee himself.

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    This is what happens when we elect qualified, talented individuals. Bridgeport gets a voice. Congratulations to one of the few elected officials I have never met but respect.

  • Bond Girl

    We are getting more and more fortunate by the day with the delegation we have in Hartford! This is marvelous news! Auden always has our backs, in short SHE ROCKS!

  • Lisa Parziale

    Yay Audi! You’re an example of what an elected official should be. I’m honored to have you as my State Representative and I’ll always be there for you!

  • Pete Spain

    Excellent news for Bridgeport and CT.

    I hope Rep “Banshee” Grogins will ensure her and Rep Hennessy’s conflict-of-interest bill returns for a vote in both chambers in 2015.

    I hope too Rep Banshee, House Speaker Sharkey, State Senator Moore, State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, and the Governor and Lt. Governor use their sizable leverage to overcome any remaining resistance in the State Senate to the bill that already passed the lower chamber. And please, call out those who are resisting this necessary reform for our city. Thank you.

  • Andmar

    This is excellent news.

  • DavidDanielsIII

    Nice. Congratulations! :)

  • Bob Walsh

    Excuse me folks. I realize everyone likes Auden and thinks she is doing a good job but what exactly is she going to do to reduce the tax burden on Bridgeport residents???
    The state is facing a significant budget deficit of its own over the next few years. So it is not like she can force the state to ante up more especially if the state commits more funding to the ECS.
    Even if the state wanted to do something about PILOT, where does the money come from? Again if they fund a higher percentage, that is a new expenditure to the state with no offsetting savings or revenue.
    What MALLOY had proposed to do with automobile taxes was to eliminate them completely as a revenue source to the cities and fund this by reducing aid to cities and towns; a lose-lose for Bridgeport.
    Establishing enterprise zones for the state’s distressed municipalities seems to be the only real viable option. Since the zones are established to lure new business and encourage the growth of existing businesses it does not necessarily create a budget balancing act. If new businesses are added, there is potential for additional assists from the state through TIF bonding. But there would have to be a percentage set aside in any state assists to job growth that would guarantee funding to distressed municipalities. I.e. the state must earmark a certain percent of ECD monies to distressed cities out of all funds. So if the state is going to spend $100 million dollars relocating a business, that does not help a distressed city the state must set aside $50 million in a pool for the towns that really need the assistance. It’s the only way to hold the state’s feet to the fire.
    Good luck, Auden. You will need it.

  • Mustang Sally

    What would someone who is not Auden do? We are better off with her as the Chair than anyone else.

  • Bob Walsh

    I am not saying we are not better off but it is Auden against the state so don’t expect miracles.
    If there were a great deal of empathy for the city of Bridgeport throughout the state of Connecticut, we would not be in the condition we are in today.
    I always point to the fact the wealthiest communities in the state of CT can use their ECS money for local property tax relief because the state says they spend enough already. Talk about welfare for the wealthy.
    So as long as this mindset exists, Auden is up for a huge battle.
    Empowerment zones are doable and do not take money from anywhere but future revenue streams. A two-tiered PILOT payment system would lessen the impact on the state budget by providing distressed municipalities a higher reimbursement rate but it probably would not result in significant increased revenue to the cities.
    Otherwise I am anxious to hear from Auden what she plans on pushing for.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Bubba, as always great financial insight. We both know Audi well, and while she’s not a one-woman army, she’ll fight as if she is, and that’s what we want. She’s unafraid to take on difficult issues and positions; we should give her time and encouragement as she embarks in a leadership position. I know you know that!!!

  • Jimfox

    Yay! But can she cook?

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