Yikes. Work on the city budget is hardly finished, although the full City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on the $494 million spending plan that begins July 1.
“I’m kicking back an unbalanced budget,” says Budget and Appropriations Committee co-chair Bob Curwen. Curwen says Mayor Bill Finch’s proposed budget has a $4 million dollar hole reliant on city employee givebacks. It also includes, as approved by the budget committee, a tax increase a shade below one mil. A mil represents roughly $7 million.
In addition, because the Connecticut Legislature failed to take action on extending the real estate conveyance tax that represents $2 million to the city, the budget faces an additional revenue shortfall if state lawmakers don’t go into special session to extend it. Legislators had an oops moment when they failed to extend the real estate tax program before the end of the regular session last week.
The mayor will have two weeks to act on the budget the council passes. He has strong veto power. The council generally sets the mil rate the first week in June in time for July tax bills.
May convention madness starts tonight when Congressman Jim Himes will be endorsed by Democratic delegates to seek reelection to his Fourth District U.S. House seat. Where has the time gone? In 2008 Jimmy knocked off 20-year incumbent Republican Chris Shays in the Barack Tsunami. Shays moved to Maryland, toyed with a guber run, but recently closed on a condo in Black Rock to stay in touch with his peeps. He’s sitting out this cycle. Several Republicans are poised for an August primary to challenge Himes including Shelton State Senator Dan Debicella, the favorite to win the GOP endorsement, and former Bridgeport GOP Chair Rick Torres and Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann.
This time Jimmy will be running on his record with a much lower turnout in Bridgeport. But he’ll have plenty of moolah to make his case. Hey, we passed health care for the neediest of folks, we have the economy back on track, and we took down the Congress Street bridge.
But, at what cost? Republicans will argue. Your answer to everything is print money, bloat the deficit, mortgage our future and you’re in bed with your former employer Goldman Sachs. It’s gonna get ugly. Barring something screwy this will be a competitive race based on the makeup of the 17-community district that includes Bridgeport and heavily Republican suburbs. Unaffiliated voters will sway this election, as well as the guber race.
The convention to endorse Himes starts tonight at 7 in Central High School.
Party With OIB
We’re having a party … Tuesday starting at 5:30 at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn Blue Martini bar. General Manager Bill McGarry will help throw a sweet event. First cocktail on OIB plus neat eats. Park in the garage behind the hotel on Middle Street, validate your parking ticket at the front desk, and head over to the Blue Martini. Yeah, baby, ya never know who’ll show up at an OIB party.