The City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee could vote on Mayor Joe Ganim’s spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 as soon as May 6. A public hearing on the general fund budget will take place Thursday, 6 p.m. in council chambers.
Ganim’s no-tax-increase, election-year budget may face some modest alterations possibly extra dollars allocated to the school district but not nearly the millions more education advocates argue is needed to avoid major cuts with the built-in annual costs to cover salary increases and other items.
That’s always the rub between holding the line on taxes and minimizing education investment. Ganim’s mayoral opponents may argue we’re not investing enough into schools. Okay, but what will they cut to get there? The other option is raising taxes. The council could wipe out every single one of Ganim’s discretionary appointees and that would not even amount to a half a mill. One mill represents $7 million in a budget of more than $600 million.
And if you’re State Senator Marilyn Moore, one of Ganim’s opponents, you scream too loudly about underfunding schools and the rejoinder is simple. It’s her job, as a member of the city’s legislative delegation to bring home the bacon. What has she done in 10 years to mollify education advocates on that front?
Ganim can simply say she wants to raise taxes, I won’t.
Ganim’s two other opponents John Gomes and Lamond Daniels aren’t as vulnerable to the pushback.
Moore will try to claim successes on education funding but most members of the city’s delegation assert privately that she simply takes credit for the work of the majority legislative representatives. She’s not particularly chummy with her Hartford peers.
Moore will need to find an extra gear to rise up as a serious threat to Ganim. She’s last in fundraising and last in organized support. Forget the delusional prattle advanced by Moore’s chicken-little propaganda arm at Bridgeport Generation Now. Its leaders want to run the city and they see Moore as a tool they can control to unlock the bolt to the mayor’s office.
They are no different than the power structure they condemn in the fuel to exert control. They demand transparency from others but won’t release details of who funds the organization. They claim non-partisanship, raise money off of it, then wave pompom on Moore’s behalf. One of the organizations founders Gemeem Davis served as Moore’s campaign manager for her 2019 run. The other Callie Heilmann hosted a fundraiser for her.
This time around they tried to be a little less obvious but the temptation to buoy Moore’s flagging start will rise.
Less than five months from a Democratic primary, something dramatic must occur for Moore’s mayoral fortunes to shift her way.