No Taxes In Bridgeport! Plus: Syesha Mercado, Our Idol

Hey, did anyone see our own Syesha Mercado knock it out of the park tonight, singing If I Were Your Woman on American Idol? Yes, Syesha is Bridgeport born and raised and in the top 10. Randy Jackson said “Blazing hot.” Paula Abdul said “You’re the dark horse” and dour Simon said he liked it, but …

Vote Syesha, baby!

Would you juice the state sales tax one point in Connecticut cities–from six to seven percent–to allow mayors to raise additional revenues? That’s what four Connecticut mayors, including Bill Finch, asked the Connecticut legislature to do on Monday. Doing so would generate millions in new revenues for the cities, say proponents. Opponents say it will force people to shop outside the cities.

Cities are hurting and Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, perhaps more than any other. The state needs to do something more dramatic than ramping sales taxes in cities. I say cut taxes in cities, specifically the personal income tax. You want to urge businesses to locate in urban areas? How about placing a moratorium on taxing the income of folks that either live or work in cities? (Shelton doesn’t count!)

Okay, so how do you make up the loss in revenue? The revenue that the state loses in the short term is dwarfed by what the cities would gain long term in the way of job creation and local property tax revenue. I’m no economist (aren’t you relieved) but maybe some bean counter in Hartford could measure the losses short term versus the gains long term.

Bring your business to Bridgeport and we won’t charge income taxes!

Or if that doesn’t work maybe it’s time we stick a tollbooth in front of the casinos and wire the revenue to Bridgeport!

Hey, what’s the deal with the city covering the legal fees of imprisoned former Mayor Joe Ganim accused in a lawsuit of torpedoing a developer’s plans for Steelpointe in favor of a major campaign contributor? The city is paying two sets of outside lawyers, one representing the city against the civil claims, another on Ganim’s behalf because state law, according to the city attorney, requires that Ganim be covered against civil complaints in the performance of his duties. The time period of the complaint goes back to when Ganim was mayor. The lawyer paid by the city to protect Ganim charges $200 per hour. So, there’s no in-house city staff lawyer capable of defending the city and Ganim?

Meanwhile, the billable hours keep on ticking.

City Hall press release on mayoral call to increase state sales tax in cities:

Mayors Seek “Penny Tax” Increase to Boost Urban Revenues
Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) testified yesterday in front of the General Assembly’s Finance Committee in support of House Bill 5929, “AN ACT CONCERNING A MUNICIPAL OPTION TO LEVY LOCAL TAXES.” The Mayor was joined by his colleagues from the Urban Mayors Caucus, including Mayor Kevin Cavanagh of New London, Mayor John DeStefano of New Haven and Mayor Dannel Malloy of Stamford, who also are in support of the bill to increase revenues in urban areas.

“In the face of a challenging financial situation, urban centers are often forced to raise property taxes on already-burdened taxpayers,” said Mayor Finch. “By raising the sales tax on selected goods and services by one percent, we could potentially see a revenue increase of $8.7 million in Bridgeport alone.

“Many people who spend money in urban areas do not live in the city, so the burden of a .01 sales tax increase is shared by the region, not placed directly on city residents.”

The bill would allow municipalities, by vote of their legislative bodies, the option of “piggy-backing” an additional sales tax onto specific goods and services sold in that area.

The Mayor added, “I will do everything within my power to shift the burden of our property tax system off of Bridgeport residents. This legislation could bring Bridgeport taxpayers significant relief.”



  1. That’s just great!! Finch and a few unenlightened others have decided that the best way to increase city revenues is to target retailing spending in the city and adding 1% to the already outrageously high sales tax for a state with ridiculously high personal and corporate income tax rates.

    Guess what, Birdman? Your feeble idea doesn’t make the fiscal sense you think it does. ( Fiscal is a word that pertain to matters which relate to finance. I wanted to save you a trip to the dictionary. A dictionary is a book with a lot of words and definitions.) Why? If you would pay attention to the economic data that is regularly published for the SMSA (Standard Mean Statistical Area-Bridgeport), you would have seen the figures presented by the Westfield Group specifically for the Trumbull Shopping Park. Operative word here is Trumbull. The posted data indicates that a full 53% of all revenue generated by credit/debit card sales are attributable to purchaser’s zip codes located in Bridgeport. Look around, Moonbeam. Your constituency has no where else to shop for quality products then the Trumbull Shopping Park. How is this fact going to affect your plans to bilk another 1% into your coifs? It won’t. People don’t buy things in Bridgeport. The next biggest revenue generator in Bridgeport is drug trafficking. Since your police department hasn’t a clue as to how to control that, maybe you should cut a deal with the dealers and get them to tax their sales. I’m sure you and your feeble mind have already considered that scenario.

  2. We need business and jobs to drive grand list. Lennie’s income tax idea is interesting.

    Another alternative to sales tax plan would be to raise sales tax by half-percent state-wide and distribute the half-percent to the designated tax disparate cities for property tax relief.

  3. Yesterday you were asking people to take it easy on mayor moonbeam. Today we have an article where the mayors of the largest cities in CT want to raise the sales tax in their cities by 1%.If you want to stop development and send people into the burbs pass this ridiculous tax increase.
    The only people that are really hurt are the poor and the elderly. generally they are not as mobile as most of the population and thus are a captive audience.
    We should be getting the true tax worth of all the properties that are covered by the State Pilot program. If the state wants to put the hospitals, rehab centers and the like in the cities let the burbs pay for keeping these facilities out of their towns.
    This one is relly going to piss people off but i believe that we should have tolls on all the state roads leading into Connecticut. These tolls should be on the borders only. We are the only State on the east Coast that does not have a toll road. the monies generated for using our roadways will make more than the 1% sales tax and the people from out of state will help pay for the road repair bill.

  4. As a Business/Finance Student, here’s my analysis of what needs to happen in Bridgeport. In recessive periods, when money is tight, cutting income taxes is what needs to happen. The Gov’t is hurting for money as well and their agenda says, need more? raise taxes!. WRONG. because we are in recessive times, lowering taxes will increase spending which will increase productivity and demand and will, in effect, jumpstart the economy. Raising the sales tax is the stupidest idea i’ve ever heard. Sales tax needs to stay at 6%. It’s a percentage. It should almost never change. If the price of items go up with inflation, so will the cost of the tax.

    Meanwhile- It’s Bridgeport’s duty to pay the civil defense of Joe. He served in that office and he deserves to be defended in what he did as long as it was justifiable.

    Bridgeport needs to keep its citizens AND get citizens from other towns to shop and opporate business IN BRIDGEPORT!!! That’s why I think all these lofts and revitalizing of old factories is such a good idea. Get young couples and young families back in Bridgeport. Morals and ethics must be revamped by Finch. Finch needs to get on his game. He seems to have dropped the ball and is looking at the meaningless items on his agenda.

  5. Wake up and smell the reality all of ye who advocate higher taxes. We are already being decimated by inflation (that the fed says is under control). I filled my tank yesterday for $53. Last year that would have cost $32. Saturday, I bought a dozen eggs for $2.29, 1/2 gallon of designer milk for $3.39 and $2.89 for a loaf of whole grain bread. Give me a break. Now, our “leaders” want to add more cost by increasing the sales tax because they don’t know how to govern in a fiscally prudent manner. I think it’s sad. I watched a news cast a couple of weeks ago in which the interviewer was talking to a blue collar laborer. The laborer said that his wages haven’t gone up in quite a while but his costs have gone through the roof. So much so that he can no longer put meat on his table more than a few times a week. My dad was a blue collar laborer. I remember as a very young child eating beans and greens and chambotte quite a few times a week. The treat was on Sunday we would get to put a stick of pepperoni in the beans and greens. I prepared that beans and greens meal for some friends we have made at our place in North Carolina a few weeks ago. Still affected by that laborers comments on TV about not being able to put meat on his table as often, I calculated the cost. To feed six adults I used three heads of escarole, 1 package of dried beans, garlic and stock. I don’t think I spent $5.

    If the “TAX ‘EM” mentality does not stop immediately, we will certainly revert back to those days 60 years ago when our mothers had to watch every penny to make sure that there was enough food for the week.

    No business entity in their right mind would want to invest in a city where the cost of doing business is so high and “pay to play” is presumed. The labor force would be non-existent because, as we have heard, 68% of all of the students who start kindergarten in Bridgeport will quit without marketable skills. The streets are not safe and the cost to maintain a home is, simply put, nuts.

    Too bad we have Finch. We need someone who can identify a way to operate and govern in an effective and efficient manner. Waterbury thinks the ex-con Rowland is the right guy to spur economic development. Maybe Finch is waiting for Ganim or Newton to pay their debt to society so either could come into the vacant economic development job.

  6. To follow up comments that Lennie had posted on yesterday’s blog, his characterization that my opposition to the Kuchma tax deal is more a matter of process or procedure, nothing can be further from the truth. The city ordinance clearly states that the tools given to the city by state law can only be used for housing if it is for rental purposes or for owner occupied units for low and moderate income families as defined by H.U.D.
    I have had the city clerk’s office pull out of achieves the original paperwork for this ordinance and after reviewing this there is no doubt in my mind that this was the intent of the city and the council at that time. And remains in tact since no amendments to the eligibility criteria have been approved by the council.
    In a partial admission to the fact, the Economic Development professionals (and I use the term loosely) decided that the council can ignore the ordinance and simply grant the tax break based on a more loosely defined state statute. Hogwash. The city can not pick and choose when to enforce ordinances and when not to. And I would think that Lennie Grimaldi, of all people, would not condone such lawless acts in any city administration.
    Even though the city attorney’s office submitted a written legal opinion, they cite no case in which a court has ruled that an ordinance can be ignored if exigent circumstances exist. The council can not allow this to happen or else we can simply throw out our complete code of ordinances.
    The city has consistently violate this ordinance in the manner that they are trying to do again and in the process violated other sections of the ordinance and or enabling legislation that would require public hearings, full disclosure of members of partnership / LLC’s or shareholders of corporations, the inability to transfer PILOT’s that are granted under this ordinance between developers and / or condominium owners, the lack of enforcement of the use of MBE’s and WBE’s and I am sure with other provisions.
    In its haste to aid developers the city has carelessly and recklessly placed all of the tax breaks previously granted in jeopardy and tarnishes the image of the city when it comes to aiding development.
    Some people may view these as mere technicalities. Others may argue that these need to be ignored when a really good project gets stalled. Hasn’t the city of Bridgeport learned that as soon as you rationalize reasons for breaking ordinances you open the door to every imaginable form of corruption? And even if that corruption does not result in personal gain for a city official, if it gives the impression to developers and contractors that the city will bend the rules to help a friend, the history of the city will suggest that at some point in time reciprocation may be suggested.
    And to suggest that the role of the Town Chairman should be to help shepherd through these actions places an even greater appearance of a quid pro quo if that same individual will be turning to these developers and contractors for donations in the future.
    If the ordinance needs to be changed, do it correctly. Let’s drop the “might is right” mentality when it comes to dealing with the council and let’s just do it right to begin with.

  7. KUDOS to Bob Walsh who understands that Bridgeport cannot exempt taxpayers at random no matter how many times they vote.

    OPICs, one-person internet companies, turn people into taxpaying citizens and the movement is gaining traction in – you guessed it – Bridgeport, where newcomers become euphoric after completing their first sale. Bridgeporters are under rated in their ability to import money from overseas.

    TODAY Bridgeport, tomorrow the world.

  8. Claude Balls

    Vous êtes un chef de merde. Don’t bother…loosely it translates to the effect that Mr. Balls head is composed of the fecal matter of an ass.

  9. Let me get this straight. I a tax payer am willing to give thousands of dollars in
    tax breaks to some group of people who will not tell me
    who they are ?? That is a pretty good trick and our mayor
    goes along with it. I just don’t get it.
    Has our mayor been bit by some bird with SARS or some other
    kind of debiliating mind altering infection which causes tax
    freedom to Kuchima and a 1% increse on sales tax to those
    of us who live here. You know what – this may explain
    how he seems to have forgot my/ours $ 600.00 rebate.
    Lets have a fundraiser at Testos, to pay for a cure for
    poor old Moonbeam, his mind flew the coop it seems.

  10. Claude Balls

    I’m getting more then a little annoyed with your suggestive comments about Chris Caruso. I admire Caruso and consider him a worthy friend. Therefor, I resent emphatically any comment on your part that demeans me and demeans him. Lennie has already deleted one of your thoughtless comments and will probably delete the one you just posted. I strongly suggest that you never make comments like that again. A blog such as this is a useful way to express opinions open to all regardless of articulate ability. When a slug like you pollutes this forum with such innuendo, it lessens the utility we enjoy. Act like a responsible adult. MAybe some will pay attention to your view point. Right now, I don’t the bloggers think much of you except maybe Anna.

  11. Wondering…I’ve often wondered why Connecticut doesn’t reinstitute toll booths on our borders, seems ridiculous that we are the only state that doesn’t have tolls. The income it would generate would be a real plus, besides we donate to the coffers of bordering states when we drive thru, so why shouldn’t they do the same? so much for a “free ride.” If the state income tax was elimanted completely, I wouldn’t mind paying 7% sales tax. Seems more of a fair allocation, since everyone has to pay sales tax, yet some people don’t pay state income tax. Again, the middle class carries the burden. Everyone’s paycheck is stretched too far these days between rising costs of just about everything. Grain being used for fuel has affected the cost of just about everything made from flour and yet fuel/heating prices have gone up instead of down! I just can’t figure it, how much more do they think we can afford on the money we make? George Bush and his fat cat friends can’t go away fast enough for me. No matter who becomes president, they will be an improvement over this warmonger and his ultra-rich buddies. What would they know about struggling to make ends meet like the rest of us commoners?

  12. By the way…..can we knock it off with the postings in French? Doesn’t serve much of a purpose to those of us who can’t decipher it save for maybe a word or two. As far as Caruso…..I don’t think yahooy or anyone else would consider voulez vous cocher avec moi with him unless they have a death wish….leave that phrase to Creole Lady Marmalade, por favor!!

  13. when we are on a rant regarding prices at the pumps, let’s not forgot our dear governor Rell, who hindered the state tax reduction of about 25 cents per gallon. How is it when you go to the neighboring state of Massachusetts, the gas prices are approximately 22-25 cents cheaper per gallon? Again, they obtain revenue from toll boothes, and that should be an immediate consideration for Connecticut to reinstate. Fortunate are those people in upstate Connecticut who live close enough to the Massachusetts border to go get a fill-up and save $4-5 per tank….it adds up!

  14. “The lawyer paid by the city to protect Ganim charges $200 per hour.”

    Somebody remind again about what a great guy Joe Ganim was and all the good things he did for Bpt.

  15. Mayor Finch.

    Do you honestly believe that there are people out there who will spend $850,000,000 on “certain” retail goods in Bridgeport? Did you use the same abacus on this calculation as you did when you figured out that you could give all city tax payers $600 in rebates.


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