Malloy’s Bridgeport Problem Growing As Campaign Season Heats Up, ‘When Are We Gonna Get Our Shot Like Stamford?’

Finch, Malloy; St. Pats 2014
Dan Malloy, right, showed up for St. Patrick’s Day in the city with Mayor Bill Finch, left. Finch’s people say Malloy will need luck of the Irish.

Critics of Governor Dan Malloy call the failed two-year recruitment of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates a boondoggle costing taxpayers $16 million that could have been invested in the state’s largest city. But it also highlights a growing organizational problem Malloy faces in Bridgeport in the gut of his reelection including frayed relations with Bridgeport’s Democratic leadership that believes Malloy should be doing more.

Bridgewater pulled out of a $115 million incentive package to move its headquarters from Westport to Stamford. Critics argue poaching a business from wealthy Westport to a thriving Stamford doesn’t do the state a lot of good unless it entices a move to one of the state’s distressed cities. Of course, there’s also the argument Stamford is an easier sell than Bridgeport.

In a comment to the Connecticut Post, former Mayor John Fabrizi says, “The state has invested billions of dollars in Stamford and nowhere close to that in Bridgeport, and it is frustrating. I understand how these deals work. … However the state of Connecticut has to be cognizant of places like Bridgeport.”

Malloy’s people will say they are cognizant of Bridgeport which is why the governor ponied up an incentive package of roughly $30 million to entice Bass Pro Shops, the mega outdoor retailer, to serve as the anchor tenant in the revitalization of the Steel Point redevelopment area on the East Side.

But many Bridgeport political operatives maintain Malloy has no specific agenda for turning around the development fortunes of the state’s largest city that delivered a major plurality four years ago when he won a tight election over Republican Tom Foley.

“Malloy has his work cut out for him,” says Ernie Newton campaigning to reclaim the State House seat he occupied for more than a decade. “We need inner-city jobs for inner-city people. It’s going to be a tough election. There’s no excitement. And we worked very hard to get him into office. A lot of minorities are upset. I’m out there every day knocking on doors. This is what blacks, whites and Hispanics say. When are we gonna get our shot like Stamford?”

Mayor Bill Finch is saying all the right things publicly about Malloy, but in private Finch political operatives maintain the governor isn’t doing nearly enough in Bridgeport considering what the city means to his reelection. They too say there’s no enthusiasm for Malloy’s reelection.

Malloy has never had a warm and fuzzy relationship with city political leadership that goes back to his days as mayor of Stamford. It continued in 2010 when Finch and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa both supported Ned Lamont over Malloy in a Democratic primary. Malloy won the primary handily statewide and ran nearly even in Bridgeport. Peace was made for the general election. Barack Obama showed up in Bridgeport three days before the November election that juiced turnout. Speculation is Obama will return to push Congressman Jim Himes and Malloy. Do they even want him here? The latest Q Poll reports national voters view Obama as the worst president since World War II.

Finch’s people wonder if an Obama visit to Bridgeport will be enough to inspire voters this time around without more brick and mortar projects to promote. If Malloy has a campaign plan for Bridgeport, they say, they’ve not been included.



  1. Malloy will dangle a few carrots in front of us and say “see what I am doing for Bridgeport.”
    Malloy thought getting Bridgewater to go to Stamford was a big deal, really, a CT business from one town to another. BFD.
    Connecticut is not going to see a lot of companies relocate here from other states. Taxes are too high, real estate is high, gasoline is high, home heating oil is high you name a product if it’s is sold in CT it’s high. Malloy and the Dems are full of it.

  2. Andy, we have ‘bridges’ (some work, some don’t and some burned up, but so what, and we’re considering footbridges), we have ‘water,’ too (seawater, fresh water, treated water and gray water) and we have contaminated land that requires mega bucks to remediate.
    So we tell Bridgewater about our bridges and water and contaminated land, and get Governor Malloy to pass the $20 Million cleanup wand (more money due to cost increases) over the land and whether Bridgewater decides to remain in Westport or come to Bridgeport after the cleanup (it’s a reverse commute for those in Westport), does it matter? Someone else will be able to occupy a pristine site, no? And if it is merely cleaned to residential quality and not exactly pristine, that’s what the schoolkids will get after the GE cleanup, aren’t we all better off? Time will tell.

  3. You know Andy, I forgot we even have water in Bridgeport exciting enough for the Mayor to fish in (or at least be videoed in fishing gear). And I just remembered we have taxis for water, too!!! And we have fountains (that work) with water, too!!! Can things get any better to attract a company like Bridgewater? And more State money? Time will tell.

  4. I know there are voters who don’t care for Ernie Newton but his comment is right on time when he said, “Malloy has his work cut out for him,” says Ernie Newton campaigning to reclaim the State House seat he occupied for more than a decade. “We need inner-city jobs for inner-city people. It’s going to be a tough election. There’s no excitement. And we worked very hard to get him into office. A lot of minorities are upset. I’m out there every day knocking on doors. This is what blacks, whites and Hispanics say. When are we gonna get our shot like Stamford?”

    1. Bridgeport desperately needs a strong representative voice like Ernie Newton’s, however he is not the one. He can only drag Bridgeport down by continuing to seek political (power) office. Ernie does have a strong voice, but he needs to channel his efforts behind someone who will carry the torch and lift up the 99%. Ernie needs to break through his resentment of the system and do what’s right for the people he professes to care so much about.

    2. When people stand up and say BULLSHIT to relocation of Marina Village housing in the heart of the city’s revitalization efforts, that has to do with Mayor Finch and a Stamford elected official, David Kooris, who happens to be in charge of Economic development. When a city makes moves like that, do not blame Dannel Malloy. Stamford looked exactly like Bridgeport in the late ’70s. They had a plan and have moved forward ever since. Bridgeport never aggressively went after development and our current Barnum Festival ringmaster has never pushed Bridgeport as a place for A type development. He helped set the bar real low for the City and had been the President of the BRBC for over 25 years. Bridgeport should only go after the backroom operations of major corporations that invest millions into Stamford. Sorry Paul, but why you are still President has got to be because nobody wants to be bothered. Do not blame Malloy for local incompetence.

  5. First let me say I have voted in every city, state and federal election since turning 18 in June of 1969 and I am unabashedly and unapologetically Democrat on those 45 years. Having said that, I will not be voting the party of my past. Here’s why:
    JUNE 13, 2011

    The State of Connecticut will impose at least 77 separate tax increases over 24 categories as part of the changes recently made by the General Assembly.

    1. Raises income tax on individuals making as little as $50K and couples making at least $100K
    a. Expands the number of brackets from 3 to 6
    b. “Bracket Creep” shifts many taxpayers into higher brackets
    c. Highest marginal rate rises from 6.5% to 6.7%
    d. Phases out the 3% tax bracket for taxpayers with CT AGI of over $56,500 for individuals, $100,500 for joint filer,
    e. Income tax hikes retroactive to January 1, 2011

    2. Recapture Provision for high income earners effectively flattens the income tax rate on high income earners for the entire amount of their income

    3. Property tax credit reduced from $500 to $300 and phased out for couples over $100,500

    4. Sales and Use Tax–Increased the general sales and use tax rate from 6% to 6.35%

    5. Eliminates Sales and Use Tax Exemptions for:
    a. Hazardous waste removal
    b. Valet parking at any airport
    c. Yoga instruction at a yoga studio
    d. Clothing and footwear costing less than $50
    e. Non-prescription drugs and medicine
    f. Cloth or fabric for non-commercial sewing
    g. Property or services used in operating solid waste-to-energy facilities
    h. Yarn
    i. Smoking cessation products

    6. Expands the Sales and Use Tax to include:
    a. Motor vehicle storage
    b. Packing and crating
    c. Motor vehicle towing and road services
    d. Intrastate transportation via limousine, community car, or van with a driver
    e. Pet grooming and boarding
    f. Cosmetic medical procedures
    g. Manicures and pedicures
    h. Spa services

    7. Estate Tax–Lowers the threshold at which the estate tax applies from $3.5 million to $2 million. The estate tax has eight rates starting at 7.2% for estates between $2 million and $3.5 million up to 12% on estates over $10.1 million
    8. Hotel tax–Increased from 12% to 15%
    9. Luxury Goods Tax–7% sales and use tax on motor vehicles costing more than $50,000, boats over $100,000, jewelry over $5,000, and clothing over $1000. Rate applies to the entire cost of the item, not just the amount over the threshold.
    10. Rental Car Surcharge–Increased from 6.35% to 9.35% on short term car rentals
    11. Alcoholic beverages tax
    a. Increases excise taxes on alcoholic beverages by 20%
    b. One-time floor tax on alcoholic beverages in inventory as of 7/1/2011
    12. Corporate Tax Surcharge–0% corporation tax surcharge for the 2012 and 2013 income years for companies with at least $100 million in annual gross income in those years and a tax liability that exceeds $250. This replaces a temporary 10% surcharge in law for FY2011.
    13. Cigarette tax
    a. Increases from $3 to $3.40 per pack
    b. One-time floor tax on cigarettes in the inventory of stores as of 6/30/2011
    14. Tobacco Products Tax
    a. Increased on snuff tobacco from $0.55 to $1/ounce
    b. Increases of 27.5% to 50% on all other tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco, etc.
    15. Diesel Fuels Tax
    a. Increases the base tax on diesel fuel from $0.26 to $0.29 per gallon
    b. Imposes a $0.03/gallon tax on diesel in inventory as of 6/30/2011
    16. Real Estate Conveyance Tax
    a. Increases the real estate conveyance tax rates from 0.5% to 0.75% on the first $800,000 of the sale price of a residential property
    b. Increases the marginal tax on nonresidential and residential property over $800,000 from 1.00% to 1.25%
    17. Electric Generation Tax–Imposes a new temporary tax of .25 of one cent per net kilowatt hour of electricity generated and uploaded into the regional bulk power grid at Connecticut facilities, except for solar, wind, or fuel cell energy
    18. Admissions Tax Exemptions Eliminated–The following locations are no longer exempt from the 10% admissions tax on the ticket price:
    a. Hartford Civic Center
    b. New Haven Coliseum
    c. New Britain Beehive Stadium
    d. New Britain Stadium
    e. New Britain Veterans Memorial Stadium
    f. Bridgeport Harbor Yard Stadium
    g. Stafford Motor Speedway
    h. Lyme Rock Park
    i. Thompson Speedway
    j. Waterford Speedbowl
    k. Tennis Foundation of Connecticut
    l. William A. O’Neill Convocation Center
    m. Nature’s Art
    n. Connecticut Convention Center
    o. Dodd Stadium
    p. Arena at Harbor Yard
    q. New Britain Rock Cats games
    r. New Haven Ravens games
    s. Waterbury Spirit games
    19. Amazon tax–Requires remote sellers with no physical presence in Connecticut to collect sales taxes on their taxable sales in Connecticut
    20. Cremation certificate–fee increases from $100 to $150
    21. DMV fee changes
    a. Increases fees on late renewals
    b. Increases fees on getting a regular drivers license and CDL
    c. Increases all vehicle registrations
    d. Increases fees paid by violators of certain motor vehicle laws such as speeding, reckless driving, and DUI
    22. Hospital Tax–establishes a new 4.6% quarterly tax on hospitals’ net patient revenue
    23. Nursing Home Resident User Fee–increases fee from 5.5% to 6%
    24. Handicapped Care Fee–establishes a new fee for providers of care to individuals with mental retardation. Currently 5.5% is the Connecticut maximum, but can go up to the federal maximum (currently 6%) as of Oct. 1.

  6. You forgot to include the increase to Metro North fares that stretch through 2018 or 2019–something like that. This increase was originally a plan B if unions were not to concede with budget cuts several years ago. The unions conceded and the fare increase was still pushed through making it harder for people to take the train to work. I am against increases to transportation that burden the consumer. In the end it is shortsighted because whatever increases in fares will eventually translate to a decrease in ridership. So in the end you don’t collect as much revenue as intended and then you get fewer commuters. It’s a lose-lose. This is also not a good idea as cities along the trains are engaging in transit-oriented redevelopment. Not to mention, this fare increase to the train doesn’t help the I-95 traffic.

  7. Dan Malloy has been very supportive of Bridgeport. Unlike Mayor Finch, Malloy has been very forgiving as Mayor Finch supported Ned Lamont. Ned Lamont signs stayed on his front lawn for six weeks after he lost Bridgeport and his bid for Governor. I will be voting for Malloy. Where do I get my sign? I guess Malloy will also be able to claim success with Steelepointe. Note to Ron Mackey on his earlier post, when will Bridgeport become another Stamford? When they stop putting obstacles in their way like Marina Village relocation. Our development department has learned nothing over the past 25 years by watching Stamford, Norwalk, Stratford and Milford attract major developers and investors. POORER neighborhoods only see the downside of gentrification. When homeowners and taxpayers move out of the City, who then will pay for local social programs? Everyone will benefit from Bridgeport’s prosperity. Homeowners, schools, restaurants, retail business and the arts. Nobody can blame Malloy. He will win Bridgeport and not because of chocolate milk!


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