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Is There A Method To Malloy’s Budget Madness? If It Passes, Get Ready For A Huge Local Tax Increase

February 8th, 2013 · 13 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, State Politics

Now hear this: if Governor Dannel Malloy’s dubious budget passes as proposed it means Bridgeport will lose $17 million in revenue generated from taxes on automobiles that Malloy wants to eliminate. If Malloy’s trying to show some love to the urban voters he’ll desperately need for reelection next year this is a strange way of showing it. Malloy isn’t saying I’m eliminating taxes on autos and I’ll cover the revenue shortfall elsewhere, he’s saying I’m eliminating the tax revenue, you go figure it out. Talk about a kick in the crotch.

The state budget Malloy inherited two years ago as governor was a deficit train wreck. He shepherded through the largest tax increase in history to pay for it, promising no more gimmicks and a balanced budget. Well, the budget isn’t exactly balanced. Bewildered Bridgeport pols protest pragmatically what’s the point of giving local schools a little bit more if you’re scalping us in other areas? Malloy, facing a challenging reelection next year from a number of Republican contenders, surmises he’s got to make things happen to win over voters smacked by his tax increase. What’s Malloy’s angle here?

Maybe he thinks by eliminating the car tax voters will run into his wide-open arms. But this assumes chief elected officials, Democrat and Republican alike will not be screaming from the municipal rafters he’s simply shifting the tax burden to local taxpayers. In the coming weeks a coalition of  union activists, municipal leaders and political operatives will protest the pain of Malloy’s budget, many of them folks he’ll need for reelection. It’s not like Malloy’s a Republican governor saying screw the cities, I don’t need them. He’s a Democrat and he needs the cities.

Or maybe Malloy thinks he’ll look like a hero eliminating a tax and he’ll let the legislature do his dirty work? Hey I tried, he’ll say, but they want to keep the tax. If he really means business to eliminate the car tax will he use his veto power?

Or maybe he thinks okay, my core base will be mad at me for a while but I can unleash a whole bunch of goodies their way through the state’s bonding powers toward economic development next year. That’s a dice roll, especially if the Connecticut electorate tunes him out this year.

Maybe he’s thinking the folks who are mad at me will embrace me next year because he’s better than a Republican governor. Well, a Republican governor never did to the cities what Malloy’s proposing.

Just in case you’re wondering, if Malloy’s budget goes through as proposed the tax increase for the average city taxpayer come July 1 will be upwards of $1,000 and more. Hide the whiskey bottles.

But the likelihood is the Democratic-controlled legislature will kill his budget proposal.



13 Comments so far ↓

  • Sunshine96

    I would rather have the car taxes! It’s bad enough, homes in Bridgeport are already worth next to nothing, and we have some of the highest taxes in the country. If this portion of the budget goes through every property owner in the city will be unable to sell their property because no one will want to pay more for taxes than their monthly mortgage payment.

  • Jimfox

    If Bill Finch hits us with another tax, he’s done!

  • yahooy

    I really can’t stand Malloy. How transparent can you get? Eliminating the car tax means we will see our real estate property tax rise at an amount much higher than we pay for our cars. There are enough brain-dead voters who will think eliminating car tax is great and reelect the jerk. Real revenue hasn’t increased one thin dime since he became governor. He increased the revenue by tax at rates never before experienced. Where did the money go? Since he became governor, I am spending a lot more money on taxes. I just can’t believe getting rid of this unpopular tax will increase his electability, but it will. It’s frustrating. Anyone out there who reads this blog and knows the governor, please tell the man yahooy thinks he is an asshole.

  • BlackRockGuy

    They should not only keep the car taxes they should go after the deadbeats who illegally register their cars out of state. There are probably several thousand owned by Bpt residents and Finch has continually ignored this problem.

  • Zena Lu

    Never could figure out his angle on anything.

    However, he may be taking a gamble on the rest of the state. Roll the dice and see if you come out ahead, sacrificing Bridgeport and other similar tax structures to win over the aggregate of the rest of the state. I see plenty of “no new taxes here and there,” and he is way too smart not to have a clue about how the municipalities will make up for the revenue loss. This begs the question: Where is the flip side? How is he planning on offsetting the revenue loss? Is he going to leave the municipalities on the beach?

    Oh where, oh where, has the border tolls proposal gone?

    I know it’s not good enough, but if he wants to alleviate the tax burden IN STATE, what better place to offset some of the cost, than by charging out-of-state folks to use our roads?

    Screw the traffic, we are broke.

  • Mojo

    *** With or without the state auto tax proposal, do you honestly think Finch would pass on a non-Mayoral election year chance to raise taxes one way or another for extra needed city revenue for xyz? *** IT’S A DONE DEAL! ***


    The idea is Malloy is shifting the tax burden away from cars to houses in an attempt to secure his re-election. So who is it that would own a really expensive car and no house??? I guess it is time for all you rich homeowners to belly up and pay your fair share. You can’t expect the increase in state spending to come from thin air. Now stop your crying and make with the checkbook. Remember, vote Democrat in the next election because they stand for the poor. God knows they are making enough of us into one of them.

  • yahooy

    Will the person or persons who, on my behalf, are going to tell the Governor that I, yahooy, think he is an asshole, please add BOE SPY to the list? Just how many Bentleys do you think are registered in Bridgeport?

    • BOE SPY

      I don’t know, but you can drive around Harding and see a lot of BMW’s parked on the street.

    • BOE SPY

      Sorry if you took it wrong yahooy, but I was being sarcastic. All the property owners in town are now going to have to pay for all the beemers in the hood. It is already bad enough honest folk in town have to pay double insurance for all the uninsured in town. Now you have to pay their car taxes, too.

  • Ben Barnes

    The governor’s proposed elimination of the car tax does indeed assume communities will make up most or all of the lost car taxes with a shift onto other property taxpayers. Since some of those taxes are paid by absentee property owners, businesses and owners of taxable personal property, the shift should favor residents, particularly renters and lower-income residents. Bridgeport, and every other city and town, should do the math before jumping to conclusions about what this will mean. Overall, most Connecticut residents will benefit from this change, depending on what kind of property and cars they own.

    • BOE SPY

      One problem Ben, the businesses and landlords will just pass that tax increase along to consumers and tenants or close down and move away. This assumes the inevitable property tax increase is spread evenly across residential and commercial properties. I do not think that is likely because businesses can close down and move away. For homeowners that option is not so easy. Many homeowners already can’t sell their house and increasing the tax on it will not make that easier. Very wealthy people, like the ones who used to live in all the empty houses on Sailor Lane, will just move away. This will leave middle income and poor to carry the burden. Google Connecticut’s median income over the last five years and notice the decrease. This could be because the average wage in Connecticut has been dropping or it could be due to very wealthy people leaving because it is just cheaper, considerably cheaper, to live somewhere else. Does anybody remember when our state income tax was just a temporary thing until our budget deficit could be fixed???

  • John Marshall Lee

    We have been brainwashed by sloppy fiscal leadership in the City for too long. Cut spending on the City side, after understanding what we are getting, what its overall value means to residents and prioritizing. At the end of the process some things will be cut.

    For the past two years BOB has been pointing out the “ghost positions” and other expenses that can be cut or eliminated. Not one of the 12 OIB posters has suggested that. Why not? Because our City Council members do not push back? Because we have no clear way to present our voice with a respectful listener? Times are changing and challenging, and … time will tell.

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