Phew! Sighs Ganim–Legislature Preserves City Funding As He Prepares Local Budget

One week before he submits the first budget of JG2 to the City Council, Mayor Joe Ganim is breathing a sigh of relief courtesy of the state legislature that on Tuesday approved a budget deal closing a deficit for this fiscal year while preserving funds for Connecticut’s most populous city. The legislative action is significant as Ganim seeks to limit a tax hit for the budget year beginning July 1 that includes implementation of revaluation of taxable property. Governor Dan Malloy signed the measure into law on Wednesday.

“Like the State of Connecticut, Bridgeport is also going through difficult financial times, with revenues just not catching up to ever increasing expenses,” said Ganim in a statement. “We are also making the tough choices facing state lawmakers as they try to balance this year’s state budget. We are very grateful for leadership in both chambers of the General Assembly for finding a way to balance the budget for this fiscal year without reducing critical investments in our cities. If this mitigation plan is signed into law, we can proceed in crafting our budget without major tax increases or drastic cuts that would harm our residents by reducing needed services. We stand willing to do our part to help the state find the savings necessary to achieve balance in the next fiscal year.”

The legislature must still resolve a projected $900 million deficit for next budget year in the final six weeks of this session. Ganim and other big-city mayors such as Hartford’s Luke Bronin and New Haven’s Toni Harp lobbied state legislators in recent weeks to avoid chopping municipal aid that would have cannibalized their local budgets and forced layoffs.

Ganim last week also urged legislators to keep funding in place to cut municipal car taxes while sending millions more in direct aid through additional revenues generated from sales taxes.

Ganim will present his budget proposal to the City Council next week. Tuesday’s legislative action provides some comfort  for city bean counters to present a more realistic spending plan that relies heavily on Hartford action.



  1. Federal dollars, but especially State revenue, play a large part in our City budget. When they are known in advance, can be regularly counted upon, and increase over time those are wonderful attributes for a City fiscal leader. However, when the finances of the State are in disarray, it creates a most difficult situation.

    The State Legislature did not just solve its large problems yesterday in a bipartisan manner. They were facing a CURRENT YEAR deficit, with only THREE MONTHS to go and a shortage of TAX REVENUE. Adjustments were made without hitting hospitals and urban programs but also without causing layoffs or furloughs it seems.

    That still leaves the projected $900 Million hole in the two-year budget that requires balancing and resolution in the next six weeks to cover the next two-year period. Let’s see if quiet harmony or at least silent discord can accompany realistic solutions for the longer run.

    One other factor in our favor is the possibility the fiscal parties responsible for the coming City budget have “new vision,” both realistic, in tune with what is going on in Hartford, and sustainable. In the City monthly fiscal report for February, released on March 28, 2016 there is a bullet point statement about “Legally Blind Revenue”: The City Council adopted $140,000 in the Legally Blind revenue account in FY 2016, however the State of CT did not fund this revenue account in their FY 2015 and FY 2016 budget. The City did not receive any revenue in this account last fiscal year and will not receive any revenue in the current years.”

    This $140,000 revenue item is an example of perhaps hopeful budgeting. The fact it was inaccurate or unlikely might have been explained in a footnote to the Council assumptions, but I have not seen such, have you?

    And on the other side of the coin, when Police Department runs overtime excesses of millions each year for the past few years and a new contract has overtime recognized for retirement income purposes in the State MERS plan, we find the CITY MERS contributions over budget by close to $4 Million this year. Is it so surprising to see the Finch Gang provide a benefit that will have significant effect on a group of workers who are supportive(?) but mainly live out of town and hide the cost from the taxpayers who will spend millions annually sustaining the Finch negotiation? Time will tell.

  2. One week before receiving the mayor’s proposed budget and no word on city Council President McCarthy seeking professional insight on the proposal.
    I guess McCarthy feels ignorance is bliss. He can’t be much more blissful because for sure he can’t be much more ignorant.

  3. And a special shout-out to the Bridgeport Legislative Delegation for keeping an eye out for our funds. Although Joe might want to get all the credit, it takes Teamwork to make things like this happen. And it takes coordination with the delegations from other large cities working together to protect their own self-interests.

  4. You can thank us suburbanites by hiring our sons and daughters, since you’re sucking up all the State dollars, and also next time you do see a suburbanite give him/her a hug for their sacrifice.

  5. Good news on state funding. Congrats to all involved. Now it’s time to aggressively pursue delinquent taxpayers, cut overall spending, eliminate unnecessary positions (including Deputy positions), and restructure unreasonable, unaffordable, and unsustainable retiree health care obligations. Another tax increase is inappropriate and unacceptable given current tax levels and past tax increases.


Leave a Reply