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Taxes up – Services down

Mike McGarry

May 08, 2008

Once again, this year, the council struggles with a budget it can do little with – expenditures outrunning current revenues – leading to destructure tax increases.

And this year, the numbers are particularily frightening. A 10 percent increase on top of revalued phase-ins mean large tax increases for small businesses, hundreds extra for hurting homeowners and further disincentives to own a car or start a business in Hartford.

As for autos, why do we see so many one plate cars in the city? So many Massachusetts plates? Could it be that our high taxes on autos are creating an underground? One observer thinks that 50 percent of the cars of residents rolling around Hartford are registered (if even legally) somewhere else. Obviously, the police look the other way, too busy, not enough sworn officers … or is there another, undiscussed, reason behind allowing scofflaws? To stay politically correct, we will let you, savvy reader, figure that our for yourself.

One commentator said, “If you are poor, and need or want transportation, you’ll do whatever to get a car.” The cost of registration, insurance, taxes, gas, repairs – plus the car itself – is a massive hill to climb so dispensing with avoidable costs may seem necessary. This action (or inaction) puts every one in jeopardy (often accidents become runaways) and, obviously, the city (or the state) doesn’t collect revenue on unregistered vehicles.

On the business side, buying new equipment or improving property is pure charity. With a mil rate approaching 70 mils (plus a continuing surcharge), no wonder so many get forgetful or move equipment around to lower tax towns. Successive years of decreasing business personal property shows real disinvestment in the very tools needed for growth.

So, now that the state is cutting expected aid, what goes? Do we really need 311? More “children’s” services? Fully staffed executive offices? Can we really afford more police, or all of our fire stations? Can our tax collection rate be increased with an understaffed office?

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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