Tag Archive | "Gov. Dannel Malloy"

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Connecticut Democrats Settle Election Probe


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – The Democratic State Central Committee was fined after state officials found it guilty of illegally spending money from a federal account on advertising for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election campaign.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission settled the case with Malloy on Wednesday.

The Democratic State Central Committee, which helps to oversee the party, and Malloy’s campaign committee, agreed to make a $325,000 payment and to use the money to comply with state law for any future campaign activity.

Elections commission members voted 2-1 in favor of the agreement, which effectively settles two lawsuits and a complaint.

To date, the payment is the largest fine by the commission.

The agreement comes as a superior court judge is expected to decide whether to compel the Democrats to comply with the commission’s investigative subpoena and turn over certain documents. The federal account can accept political contributions from state contractors, unlike the party’s state account.

Connecticut law prevents contractor money from being spent on state political races.

 

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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Letter: Gov. Malloy and Hartford’s Stadium


 

letterstohartfordguardianDear Governor Malloy:
We are writing to urge you not to use state taxpayer dollars to bail out Hartford’s Dunkin Donuts Stadium.
As a result of construction of the stadium exceeding the agreed upon deadline, we understand that costs are now likely to increase for the project. We are also aware of comments from the Hartford Stadium Authority indicating that they will not go back to the city to seek the needed added capital. That needed capital should not come from the state and our already overburdened taxpayers.
We want to remind you of multiple statements from you and your administration that promised the state would not get involved in this project which taxpayers and the lawmakers who represent them at the Capitol never had a say in authorizing. That commitment will be broken if you sign the state budget passed by Democrats that allows taxpayer dollars through the admissions tax to go towards stadium construction debt service. That commitment will also be broken a second time if any additional aid is given to Hartford for this project’s new costs due to missing its deadline.
We fully understand the predicament Hartford is in and truly empathize with the people of Hartford who have serious concerns about the Yard Goats’ stadium project and the burden it places on the city. But the state is in no position to hand out any additional funds. Democrats just passed a budget that slashes from core social services, cuts state education funds, and hurts some of the most vulnerable populations in this state. Yet at the same time their budget gives up $400,000 annually in taxpayer dollars to go towards the Hartford stadium. It is not right that at a time when support for the poor, sick and elderly is being cut, a project that had zero taxpayer support is profiting.
No state taxpayer dollars should go towards the delayed stadium.
                                                                             Senate Republican Caucus Chair Len Fasano, et al
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Quinnipiac Poll: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Job Approval Rating At All-Time Low


By Ann Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has the lowest job approval rating in his tenure and in the nine years Quinnipiac University has been conducting its poll. Malloy’s job approval rating is the lowest among the nine states polled this year, poll officials said Wednesday in a statement to the press.

Quinnipiac found that only a third of Connecticut voters approve how he is governing the state. Among Democratic voters, only 58 percent say he is doing a good job.

The most recent poll results are down from a negative 43 – 47 percent approval rating in a March 11 survey by Quinnipiac.

Malloy gets a lackluster 58 – 33 percent approval from Democrats, while the disapproval rating is 86 – 8 percent among Republicans and 61 – 29 percent among independent voters.  Men disapprove 62 – 31 percent and women disapprove 55 – 33 percent.

“Gov. Dannel Malloy’s job approval rating has plummeted to 32 percent, close to the historic 24 percent low hit by disgraced former Gov. John Rowland in January 2004, and Gov. Malloy is not in the middle of a corruption scandal,” said QU Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

File Photo: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

File Photo: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

The governor’s job-approval numbers are impacted by pocket-bush issues such as jobs, quality of life, social inequality, racism and discrimination in the state, source said.

Another report show Malloy’s approval rating  sunk to a low of 32 percent.

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State of the State Address Scheduled for Thursday


By Bill Sarno, Associate Editor

HARTFORD  –  It’s back to work Thursday for state workers and legislators after a messy winter storm delayed the start of a joint legislative session along with the governor’s State of the State Address Speech and lead the governor to order non-essential second shift state employees to stay home Wednesday.

The joint session will begin at noon, at which time the governor will deliver his State of the State Address.

Gov.  Dannel P. Malloy  and legislative leaders agreed Tuesday to delay by a day the start of the joint meeting of the state Senate and General Assembly which had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Malloy’s request for the storm-precipitated delay was endorsed by Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) and  Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden).

“This decision was based on the latest forecast for a serious winter storm Wednesday, and is the prudent thing to do for the safety of all concerned, ” Sharkey said.

On Wednesday, Malloy decided to order second-shift non-essential state employees to not report to work was based on consultation with his emergency management team.

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Connecticut Assembly OKs Early Voting Prop for 2014 Ballot


HARTFORD — Connecticut residents may soon have early voting.

Thanks to the passage of House Joint Resolution No. 36, which calls for an amendment of the state constitution. The House Joint Resolution was endorsed by a vote of 22-14 in the State Senate late Wednesday. The measure passed the Connecticut House on April 17, 2013 and was also approved by both houses of the Connecticut General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session.

The Constitutional question will now appear on the ballot for voters to ratify in Nov. 2014 election.The language will be as such: “Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to remove restrictions concerning absentee ballots and to permit a person to vote without appearing at a polling place on the day of an election?”

Officials said that these types of early voting could be in the form of in-person early voting, no excuse absentee ballots, or mail-in voting.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy  praised the Connecticut State Senate’s passage of a resolution providing for an amendment to the Connecticut State Constitution empowering the General Assembly to enact some form of early voting.

“Voting is a great responsibility and this amendment assures the voting rights of every Connecticut resident whether or not they can get to the polls on Election Day,”Malloy said. “While some states are working to suppress voter turnout, we are working to encourage greater turnout by increasing penalties on any effort to block voter access and moving our electoral system into the 21st Century.”

Malloy praised Merrill for her effort in bringing early voting to Connecticut.

“Today marks a historic and significant step forward for modernizing elections in Connecticut so we can finally enact early voting in our state,” said Merrill, Connecticut’s Chief Elections official. “This is about allowing Connecticut voters cast their ballots in a way that works better with their busy mobile lives, and in turn getting more voters to participate in Democracy.”

Connecticut joins a growing list os states to enact early voting laws. So far, 32 states have enacted some form of early voting or no-excuse absentee ballots and more than 30 million Americans cast their ballots early in the 2012 Presidential election.

The amendment, House Joint Resolution 36, “Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution to Grant Increased Authority to the General Assembly Regarding Election Administration,” would amend the state constitution by removing an 80-year-old provision that restricts absentee voting to those who are absent from the town, ill, disabled or forbidden by their religion from secular activity on Election Day. If passed, the legislature would be able to craft laws making absentee ballots available in more circumstances or without voters needing a specific reason. So called “no excuse absentee balloting” is currently available in a majority of states. The amendment also would remove the requirement that in-person votes be collected on Election Day, a technical change that would permit the legislature to enact some form of early voting or mail-in voting.

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Connecticut General Assembly Passes Bipartisan Gun Bill


By Mark Pazniokas

In emotional back-to-back debates, the Connecticut Senate and House overwhelmingly voted for one of the nation’s most comprehensive gun laws Wednesday and Thursday, a long-awaited response to one of the nation’s worst mass shootings, the Sandy Hook school massacre.

The Democrat-dominated legislature passed the sweeping measure with significant Republican support, a rare bipartisan gesture on a political and cultural issue that has divided America, deadlocked Congress and stymied a president who promised strong action.

“I want to tell you how proud I am of you and how proud I am to be a member of this General Assembly,” House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, told his colleagues.

“Keeping children safe is not a partisan issue — it’s not,” House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said as the seven-hour debate ended at 2:26 a.m.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sign the bill into law at noon at a public ceremony in the Old Judiciary Room of the Capitol.

The Senate vote was 26 to 10, with 20 of 22 Democrats and six of 14 Republicans in support.

The House vote was 105 to 44, with 85 of 99 Democrats and 20 of 52 Republicans in support. One Democrat and one Republican were absent, each with serious illnesses.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, opened a debate for the first time since becoming the chamber’s top leader in 2004, recalling his reaction on Dec. 14 when he and other legislators learned that 20 first-graders and six women had been shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

“For a few seconds, it was hard to breathe,” said Williams, a Democrat who represents a rural district in eastern Connecticut, where shooting sports are popular. “I looked around at my colleagues as we recoiled at the horror of what we learned at that moment.”

Three months later, after weeks of intense negotiations by majority Democrats and minority Republicans, besieged by an unprecedented deluge of emails and phone calls ranging from the poignant to the profane, legislators seemed relieved to end the drama.

“The country and world were watching us, wondering, ‘What are you going to do?’ ” Cafero said. “There’s been a cloud over us.”

The six-hour Senate debate was preceded with a warning to the packed galleries from the presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman: “There is no cheering. There is no booing.”

Spectators looked down on the senators, 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans, from four rows of straight-backed wooden benches in each of two galleries lining the sides of the chamber. Overwhelmingly gun owners at the start, the audience watched like a grim jury. Most heeded Wyman’s warning.

As gun-rights advocates watch from the gallery above, Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, holds up a copy of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Second Amendment.

But they cheered Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, who held aloft the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Heller vs. Washington, D.C., which knocked down a complete ban on firearms in the nation’s capital and affirmed the right to bear arms.

“Please don’t,” Kissel said. “You are not helping my argument.”

The crowd settled, returning to stony silence.

In the hallway outside, Capitol police removed one man, who they say tried to incite the crowd with shouts of “Treason!”

The day pitted the interests of gun owners, who reminded lawmakers that gun-ownership is a fundamental constitutional right, not a privilege, against the memories of 26 dead children and educators and the way that they died.

“This country is all about freedom, all about liberty,” said Sen. Jason C. Welch, R-Bristol. He said the legislature was about to infringe on liberty, without making the state substantially safer.

“I don’t see anything in this bill that takes that away. You can still own your weapon,” said Sen. Carlo Leone, D-Stamford.

No firearm would have to be surrendered under the terms of the bill, though many no longer would be available for retail sale, including AR-15 rifles manufactured in Connecticut by Colt’s, O.F. Mossberg and Stag Arms.

On the desk of Sen. Joseph Crisco, D-Woodbridge, were pictures of three young Sandy Hook victims: Daniel Barden, Madeline Hsu and Ana Marquez-Greene. Their parents gave him the photographs when they visited the Capitol Monday to advocate for gun control measures.

“What about the rights of Ana, Daniel and Madeline?” Crisco asked.

Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, one of the Senate’s most conservative members, stood to support the bill, acknowledging that his position might surprise some colleagues.

“December 14 changed a lot of people’s viewpoints on a lot of things, on the preciousness of life, on the priority of our lives,” McLachlan said, his voice soft. “And it certainly affected me in a very great way.”

One of the victims, 6-year-old Caroline Previdi, was the daughter and granddaughter of old friends, and he said that caused him to examine how the state could balance its obligation to maintain the rights of gun owners against a desire to enhance public safety.

He said it was important to him that the bill does not call for the confiscation of anyone’s firearm or magazines, though it makes their ownership more complicated.

“That’s a balance,” he said.

He said he balanced that inconvenience against doing something for Caroline.

Sen. Andrew M. Maynard, D-Stonington, one of two Democrats opposed to the bill, defended his friends and neighbors “who feel very passionately about any erosion of their Second Amendment rights…not because they are gun nuts. They hold this deep conviction that this is a part of who we are.”

The other was Sen. Catherine Osten, D-Sprague, a former correction officer. Her rural district in southeastern Connecticut adjoins Maynard’s.

“People have a right to bear arms,” Osten said. “We already have enough restrictions on them. We don’t need any more.”

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, who represents Newtown, rose near the end of the debate, recalling his rushed drive to the scene, where he saw some parents reunite with children and others leave in tears. He wore a green ribbon and guardian angel pin, the gift of a police officer.

“I’ve tried to put it on my jacket every day to remember those that we lost,” said McKinney, who has supported gun-control measures in previous years. “I stand here as their voice, their elected representative.”

Then he picked up a list he retrieved two hours earlier.

“I want to be the voice for Charlotte Bacon,” McKinney said. “And Daniel Barden. And Olivia Engel. And Josephine Gay. And Ana Marquez-Greene. And Dylan Hockley. And Madeline Hsu. And Catherine Hubbard. And Chase Kowalski. And Jesse Lewis. And James Mattioli. And Grace McDonnell. And Emilie Parker. And Jack Pinto. And Noah Pozner. And Caroline Previdi. And Jessica Rekos. And Avielle Richman. And Benjamin Wheeler. And Allison Wyatt.”

Industry lobbyist John Larkin and Jonathan Scalise, owner of a magazine company, review the bill.

Industry lobbyist John Larkin and Jonathan Scalise, owner of a magazine company, review the bill.

When he finished the list of the dead children, he read recited the names of the dead educators: Rachel Davino, Dawn Hochsprung, Ann Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto.

The day was long in coming, the inevitable political response to the worst primary-school shooting in the United States, a horror that brought President Obama to Connecticut to mourn with grieving parents. He plans to return Monday to celebrate passage of the General Assembly’s bipartisan response.

“The tragedy in Newtown demands a powerful response,” Williams said.

The legislative response was dropped Wednesday morning on the desk of every legislator: a 139-page bill, whose evolving sections had been seen in bits and pieces, but never as one document.

The Senate debate began at 12:40 p.m. with no doubt about the outcome: Passage by the Senate, then by the 151-member House, with Malloy pledging to sign the bill into law.

Amendments that would have weakened the bill failed on lopsided votes that foretold the final margin.

In the House, Rep. Arthur J. O’Neill, R-Southbury, tried a parliamentary maneuver to divide the bill, saying it had something that nearly every lawmaker could support.

After it failed on a party-line vote, the conservative O’Neill announced he would vote for the bill, calling it an effort that strikes a balance between gun rights and gun control.

“We know there are people who will not be happy with me in my district, in my hometown,” he said.

Rep. John Frey, R-Ridgefield, another conservative, prefaced his decision to vote the bill by telling the story of his sister finding and comforting a group of Sandy Hook kids who ran from the school.

“This is coming from a guy who was endorsed by the NRA,” he said.

Rep. Dan Carter, R-Bethel, whose district includes a section of Newtown, was one of 31 House Republicans to oppose the bill. The other two, Reps. Mitch Bolinsky of Newtown and DebraLee Hovey of Madison, voted in favor.

The legislation was written to cover broad concerns about firearms, school safety and mental health. It imposes universal background checks on gun purchasers, creates the nation’s first gun-offender registry and imposes the same rules on the sale of ammunition as now apply to firearms.

It also imposes mandatory prison sentences: three years for gun trafficking, and two years for stealing a firearm or transferring owners to a person ineligble to own a firearm, typically someone with a criminal record or mental illness.

Some sections were written to reflect the specifics of the attack.

Colleges in the state would have to establish threat assessment teams, whose duties would include trying to identify at-risk students. Adam Lanza, 20, the Sandy Hook killer, had attended Western Connecticut State University. He was described by an acquaintance in a police affidavit as a “shut in,” obsessed with a violent video game.

Authorities have yet to say if Lanza had been diagnosed with mental illness, but family friends have described him as falling on the autism spectrum. By coincidence, Wednesday was autism awareness day at the Capitol.

By name, the bill bans the sale of the Bushmaster XM15, the brand of AR-15 rifle that Lanza used to kill the 20 children and six women, all educators.

It bans the Saiga 12, an exotic shotgun modeled after an AK-47 assault rifle, that Lanza left in his mother’s black Honda Civic in a fire lane outside the school.

It bans the 30-round magazines Lanza carried.

He arrived at the school with 10 magazines, loaded with 300 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition.

In less than 5 minutes, he fired 154 bullets from his rifle and one from a Glock handgun. As police responded to frantic 911 calls of “an active shooter,” Lanza killed himself with the Glock.

The legislation bans the sale of any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds, and it expands the weapons covered by a 1993 assault-weapons ban, adding the XM15 and dozens of other weapons by name.

But the reach of the bill is far greater, covering any semiautomatic center-fire rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has at least one other characteristic, including the iconic pistol grip of the AR-15.

Those features include a forward pistol grip, a flash suppressor, a grenade or flare launcher or “any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, thumbhole stock, or other stock that would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing.”

The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the law will cost the state up to $300,000 in the current fiscal year and between $8.6 million and $9.6 million next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

These costs come from enhancing background checks ($3.2 million) and increasing mental health services ($4.6 million). The office also estimates that increasing the mandatory minimum sentences for several gun-related offenses will result in increased prison populations — a change that could cost the state up to $25.3 million beginning in three fiscal years.

The state will also borrow $22.9 million to finance a competitive grant program for school systems wishing to upgrade their security systems with surveillance cameras, buzzer systems, ballistic glass and other features. As with school construction, municipalities would have to contribute a portion of the cost.

Firearms manufacturers predicted they will pay a high price, fearing that gun owners nationally will boycott weapons manufactured in a state hostile to guns.

John Larkin, a lobbyist for the industry, stood on the first floor of the Capitol hours before the debate, searching the legislation for provisions that would detail which weapons were banned and whether manufacturers still could make firearms and magazines that could not be purchased in Connecticut gun shops after passage.

“It bans everything,” Larkin said, thumbing through the bill.

He was with Jonathan Scalise, the owner of Ammunition Storage Components of New Britain, whose biggest seller is 30-round magazines.

With the ban on magazines and assault weapons taking effect upon passage, Scalise said he was trying to determine if he could legally ship his product once Malloy signs the bill.

Mark Malkowski, the owner of Stag Arms, a New Britain company whose only product is AR-15 rifles, said at a minimum the legislature should delay the effective date, so manufacturers can learn how to comply.

“I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” he said.

Arielle Levin-Becker and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas contributed to this report, which was first published on ctmirror.org.

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Greater Hartford Mayors React to Malloy’s ‘Plan B’ Budget


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — While many have blasted Gov. Dannel Malloy’s switch to a so-called “Plan B” budget, at least two mayors have applauded this move.

That’s because so far, Plan B hasn’t shifted more tax burdens onto municipalities, as they have been accustomed to in the past, according to two mayors from Greater Hartford.

Hartford, East Hartford and West Hartford mayors on Wednesday briefly discussed the statewide debate over Malloy’s decision to begin 4,742 layoffs after talks with the state employees’ union stalled Monday night. Malloy is asking the union to concede $2 billion over two years. And he chose the to lay off employees instead “shifting the burden on municipalities. For these mayors, it’s a “wait and see situation.” But, they said, they know one thing.

Scott Slifka

“Gov. Malloy finally brought a perspective of a mayor to that office,” said West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka at a gathering in Hartford Wednesday. “And he [proposed a budget] exactly as a mayor would.”

Republicans are calling for no more tax increases and have pointed to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cumo. Both men went against raising taxes. Slifka said they solved their budget problems by shifting the burden of tax increases onto towns.

“Those two solve their budget problems on the backs of municipalities,” he said. He added that their choices were either to decrease services or increase taxes.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he was pleased with Malloy’s proposed budget and his Plan B choice, so much so that he plans to give Malloy the fourth key to the city.

“There’s just no way we could switch that kind of burden on tax payers in the city,” Segarra said.”

Marcia Leclerc

Although, Malloy had pledged not to hurt cities, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc expressed concerns about state aid to towns, especially the payment in lieu of taxes or, PILOT, which is a big chunk of most town budgets.

Mayoral candidate Edwin Vargas via phone said laying off state workers would also be hurting municipalities. Those state workers, he said, live in towns and cities. If they get laid off, they would have to tap safety net services in cities.

Up to 5,000 state workers could be laid off if the union and the governor’s administration fail to reach an agreement. Other cuts proposed in the Plan B budget include the closing the Commission on Human and Opportunities, 17 vocation technical high schools, state library and prisons.

In a New York Times report, a union spokesman, Larry Dorman, said Malloy’s $40.1 billion budget demands are too much.  He added: “like all middle class families, are already paying 10 percent of our income in state and local taxes, while millionaires are only paying 5 percent of their income and some of our largest corporations are paying little or no taxes at all.”

 

 

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Gov. Malloy Appoints Supreme Court Judge


HARTFORD — The Connecticut Judicial system has its third black judge.

This was welcome news to Sen. Eric Coleman (D) who chairs the General Assembly’s Judiciaary Committee.

Coleman today praised Gov. Dannel Malloy’s decision to appoint Appellate Judge Lubbie Harper, Jr. to the Connecticut Supreme Court

“Judge Lubbie Harper, Jr. has been a star in Connecticut’s justice system from the commencement of his service as a judge, and has attracted a lot of attention for his no-nonsense, down-to-earth style,” Coleman said in a statement to the press. “Judge Harper is an admirable selection on the part of Governor Malloy, and I am sure he will do an outstanding job as our newest Supreme Court Justice.”

Judge Harper currently serves as an Appellate Judge, as chair of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System, and as Connecticut’s representative to the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.

He was nominated to the Appellate Court in 2005 by Governor M. Jodi Rell, and to the Superior Court in 1997 by Governor John G. Rowland.

Harper, 68, graduated from the University of New Haven, received his Masters from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He lives with his wife Twila in North Haven, Connecticut.

The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on Judge Harper’s nomination on March 11.

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Malloy Commits To Education Funding


HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday said education funding will remain untouched as the state grapples with its $3.7 billion budget deficit.

Flanked by mayors of Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, Malloy said he will continue to fund the educational cost sharing grant, which is money to cities and towns to “equalize” school funding. Currently, the ECS grant is $1.9 billion and is partly funded by a $271 million emergency federal stimulus grant that ends June 30.

“We will, in fact, honor our commitment to hold our communities harmless for the loss of ECS dollars,” Malloy said.”We will not ding the cities.”

To honor his campaign commitment, the governor will consider merging state agencies to eliminate redundancies to close the state’s budget deficit.

The ECS funding is critical to towns and cities, but especially urban areas–hence the reason why the three big-city mayors, John DeStefano of New Haven, Bill Finch of Bridgeport and Pedro Segarra of Hartford. That’s because more than half of the cities’ tax base comprise of nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, colleges, community-based organizations, museums, theaters and churches. The cities would also hurt the most if the ECS grant was reduced.

The grant allows cities such as Hartford to make up for that shortfall in revenue, Segarra said. ECS grant makes up 60 percent of Hartford’s budget.

So far, the governor’s announcement is welcome news, Segarra said.

“Any shortage would have to be made up from local taxes,” he said. “And that would be difficult to do with properties that are untaxed.”

DeStefano said the governor’s pledge is the right investment at the right time because ECS money is helping urban schools to close the drop out rate and the achievement gap.


ALL OF THEM TOGETHER

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