Local Republicans Amp Up Tax Protest–Chairman Slater: New Wake-up Call

Finch shaking down taxpayers
From the GOP website, Stop The Tax Increases.

What, life in the city’s GOP? The Republican Town Committee has launched a new website www.stopthetaxincreases.com that urges readers to contact their City Council representative to protest Mayor Bill Finch’s budget plan that proposes a tax increase of $425 for the average homeowner.

The website features an image of the mayor holding a taxpayer by the ankles with dollars flooding out of a man’s pockets.

Contact your City Council representatives and/or sign the petition below and tell them to “VOTE NO” on Mayor Finch’s proposed Tax Raise because we the taxpayers cannot afford it!

The website includes a complete listing of City Council members and phone numbers. The site also proclaims:

There are currently thousands of foreclosures underway in the City of Bridgeport and thousands more pending …To raise taxes NOW would be disastrous!

The city’s GOP has taken out an ad campaign with OIB in an effort to drive traffic to its site. The local Republican party, long in the doldrums with little governmental say, finds itself relevant in two key elections this year. The first is the September 4 special election to fill four open Board of Education seats as the city segues back to an elected school board per order of the Connecticut Supreme Court. One of the four seats will be allocated to minority-party status. The GOP is expected to face a challenge from the Working Families Party that elected two members in 2009, Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka, both of whom will be reseated once the results of the special election are certified. Democratic party regulars hope a Republican emerges favorable to the working relationship exhibited by the reconstituted board under Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas. At least two members of the reconstituted board Kenneth Moales and Hernan Illingworth have expressed interest in running. Democrats fear another school board member elected under the Working Families Party will provide another vote against the majority. Most of the votes under the previous elected board, including the vote to dissolve leading to state control, were 6-3.

In the November general election voters are expected to answer a charter revision question centered on an elected or appointed school board. Finch is trying to make the case for voters to allow him the power to appoint school board members, arguing it will be impossible for him to truly reform the system without the power to appoint. Finch opponents say the mayor simply wants to control the school board money. GOP’s new twenty-something leadership, including John Slater and Francisco Borres, is against an appointed school board.

Statement from Slater, chairman of the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee:

For the majority of the past 20 years, the City of Bridgeport has been under the control of one-party rule. It has been a long shot for the minority party to be elected and it has never been more evident than now as to how important it is to have minority party representation.

Mayor Finch’s proposed tax increase is the exact opposite of what is needed to make Bridgeport flourish again. In fact, tax DECREASES should be the number-one component discussed in order help our current taxpayers as well as to invite new ones. The economic model that has been followed for years by Bridgeport’s current leadership did not work in the past, is not working now and will not work in the future.

The Bridgeport Republican Town Committee has recently started a web site to protest this proposed tax increase. By visiting www.stopthetaxincreases.com, every taxpayer can sign a petition as well as receive the proper contact information for their current City Council representative in order to tell them to “Vote No” on this tax increase. We encourage everyone to share this site with their family, friends and neighbors as well as to share it on Facebook and Twitter.

The Bridgeport Republican Town Committee plans on being vocal in many important areas throughout the upcoming months. We will be launching a new Bridgeport Republican Town Committee website, www.BridgeportGOP.com as well as providing you, the taxpayer, with real choices in the upcoming Board of Ed election on September 4th.

I would like to meet and start a dialogue with all of you. Please feel free to contact me by calling (203) 449-9517.

We have received your wake-up calls and we are awake.



  1. Shake! Shake! Shake! And the only green things in that picture are the taxpayer bucks. Can anyone think of the reasons beyond EDUCATION, RETIREMENT PLAN CONTRIBUTIONS, and Lighthouse that the budget increase is $24 Million? The three stated issues actually net to $11 Million or less and can be funded with “ghost funds” currently converted to “slush.” Time will tell.

  2. Well-well-well, it’s about fucking time the Bridgeport RTC woke up from its stupor. This mayor just doesn’t like the word “no,” especially when the voters say it.

  3. According to Mayor Finch, there are two primary reasons for the tax increase. They are (1) increased pension payments; and (2) additional education funding. Both are due, at least in part, to actions that were taken during his first term and, in particular, during his reelection campaign.

    Let’s start with those pension payments. To hear the Mayor tell it they are the the result of a combination of the drop in the stock market and the requirements of state law.

    He doesn’t mention he sought and received legislative approval to underfund past pension payments and defer increased pension payments required by law until after his reelection. That bill is now coming due.

    Then there is education. Finch and the Democratic City Council flat-funded education for years, in part in order to avoid an election-year tax increase. Now taxpayers are being asked to pay to reverse that neglect.

    Sadly, these seem to be just a couple of examples of the fiscal shell game that is Bridgeport’s budget. It’s the same shell game which led to a state takeover of the City’s finances a quarter century ago.

  4. Phil,
    Do you know the history of the former Bridgeport Board of Taxation? Was it an elected group? Was it appointed? Did the charter require specific quals and experience to be a member? When and why was it abolished?

    1. Countdown, Phil can add more detail, but the Board of Apportionment and Taxation was dissolved when voters through a charter change about 25 years ago approved budget authority for the City Council. Mario Testa was a member of the BOAT.

  5. Here is something that is hard to believe but Malloy’s education plan is in trouble. A key component is the ability of the state to arbitrarily open negotiated teacher contracts. No one did their homeworker as to the legality of doing this so things are on hold until the legislature gets a legal opinion. If the ruling is made to allow the state to open these signed and approved contracts, look for the teachers union to go to court, which could take a long time. This looks like something Finch would have done.

  6. Andy,
    Maybe while everyone is in court the State could be financed by Public Foundations operating with tax deductible contributions from Fairfield County hedge fund executives. They could look at their contributions as a long-term investment to correct whatever they have identified as wrong with the educational system or the system of taxation, perhaps.
    Of course, while we are in court the legal establishment gets compensated, but then that is good for employment statistics, right?
    Remember, legality to a politician is a movable, questionable, or at least arguable concept. Mayor P.T. Finch is not bothered by any concept of “legality” in failing to deliver a June 30 financial report annually to the public or the City Council. Let’s see shortly whether the Council is so willing to pass on this document when they see what information they have been missing in recent years. Time will tell.

  7. The Board of Apportionment and Taxation was appointed by the Mayor for staggered terms (six years, I think), which extended beyond the Mayor’s term, which was then two years. As a result whenever there was a change in mayoral administrations a new Mayor had to deal with a Board controlled by the prior Mayor’s appointees. That could make it difficult to carry out that which the voters had just voted for.

    For example, when Len Paoletta defeated the late John Mandanici he was faced with a BOAT appointed by the man he had just defeated. In that case, the chairman, a young fellow named Mario Testa did everything he could to frustrate Paoletta’s initiatives.

  8. Off topic–why has the Bridgeport Police department sent our force to Fairfield Beach on our dime to patrol Reef Road for the Fairfield U annual clambake? Is this where our protection needs to be on a Saturday night on our tax dollars?

    1. Good question. Does anyone know why Tom Sherwood takes his city car to Stamford every day to bring his son to work? Must be nice not to have to pay that $4.25 a gallon gas price, eh Tom? Nice to have the Bridgeport taxpayers pay your gas, insurance, vehicle maintenance and taxes, eh Tom? Whereabouts in Fairfield do you live, eh Tom?


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