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City Mayors Plead For State Help In Tough Times


October 21, 2010

Connecticut's big-city mayors released a report Thursday reminding policy makers that their cities have greater costs in serving the poor, and have large swaths of tax exempt property, like not-for-profit hospitals, universities and state offices.

"Despite tough fiscal times, state government has a moral and economic imperative to provide increased assistance to Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury," the report from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said.

Some examples:

--Statewide, 1.1 percent of Connecticut mothers and children are on welfare. In Hartford, it's 5.5 percent. In New Britain, it's 3.4 percent.

--About 74 percent of babies born to Hartford mothers are covered by HUSKY or Medicaid twice the statewide rate.

--Poverty is concentrated in Connecticut's cities; only 9.4 percent of all residents are below the poverty line, but the rate is 32 percent in Hartford.

--In 2009, 15,000 inmates were released from Connecticut jails and prisons. More than 41 percent moved to Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury.

The cities also have less ability to tax the population, partly because the concentrations of poverty bring down property values, and partly because there's such a large number of institutions exempt from property tax, the CCM report said. In New Haven, 47 percent of property is tax-exempt; in Hartford, it's 44 percent.

The state makes payments to try to make up for those losses, but they cover only a portion of what would be collected if the state offices or Yale or Trinity had to pay property taxes.

The report estimated that the state payments cover 54 percent of what private colleges and hospitals would owe, and 32 percent of state-owned property.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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