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Who Is To Blame For Hartford's $8 Million Hole?

By Jeff Cohen

May 10, 2012

The state legislature was unable to agree on a law that that would have brought Hartford $8 million in tax revenue. And as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, there's a lot of blame going around.

Hartford's property tax system is really complicated. It's enough to say this: Mayor Pedro Segarra took a gamble and included $8 million in tax revenue for next year that would come to the city only if he got certain state legislation passed.

That legislation failed, and the city now has an $8 million hole.

" You know, everyone has their different theories as to what went wrong where."

That's City Council President Shawn Wooden. And he's got a point.

Here's State Representative Matt Ritter.

"The chamber was not on board."

When he says "the chamber," he's talking about the MetroHartford Alliance -- run by Oz Griebel.

Mayor Pedro Segarra agrees. It's Oz's fault.

Segarra: I hope that the Alliance turns around in the future and I hope that they are able to act in a more constructive way in the future.

Cohen: Have you had a chance to speak with Oz at all since then?

Segarra: I've not, I think I need a little bit more time before I have that conversation with Oz.

Cohen: You're frustrated.

Segarra: Yeah. To say the least.

And now, Oz Griebel.

Cohen: They say you blocked the bill. Do you agree with that?

Griebel: Absolutely, categorically reject that conversation.

Griebel says there was an agreement on the table three weeks ago -- and then Ritter and others balked. And Griebel says the city has more than a political and property tax problem. It's got a spending problem and a governing problem.

Griebel: If this bill were to pass you could then talk to the businesses and say, "Look, we have a mayor who's in place who's committed to controlling spending, committed to lowering the mill rate, and committed to growing the grand list. Yes, we're at 74 or 75 right now on the mill rate. But look what he's going to do in driving this down."

Cohen: Can you say that now?

Griebel: Of course you can't.

Segarra called the whole affair a "very disappointing low" in his tenure.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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