BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Mayor Joe Ganim joined the Bridgeport state legislative delegation, Connecticut House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Senate President Pro-tem Marty Looney during a recent meeting to review legislative accomplishments that benefited the city during the 2016 session, which saw the state cut nearly $900 million in spending.
Overall, Bridgeport is receiving an increase of about $14 million in 2017 from the overall state aid figure in 2016. This increase comes with real property tax relief on all motor vehicles in Connecticut, including a 12 percent decrease in the motor vehicle tax for Bridgeport.
There also was a key piece of legislation passed that will help the University of Bridgeport’s naturopathic medicine program by opening up medical licenses for naturopathic physicians in the state, and another bill approved by both houses that opens the door to a new regional effort to improve special education services based in Bridgeport.
“I truly want to thank – loudly – the hard-working legislative delegation from Bridgeport and to the leadership of House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and Senate President Marty Looney,” Ganim said. “In very difficult times, when everyone is feeling the effects of significant state spending cuts, Connecticut’s legislative leadership kept its historic commitment to help the most challenged urban centers, such as Bridgeport. Given Connecticut’s over-reliance on the property tax for revenue, this extraordinary legislative leadership team continues to recognize the disadvantage faced by larger cities compared to our suburban neighbors. Bridgeport bears the cost of many regional services but yet has vast areas of non-taxable property. The investments the state has made in our municipalities are a game changer meant to even out that inequity and will benefit all residents of Bridgeport.”
State Reps. Steve Stafstrom (D-129), Ezekiel Santiago (D-130) and Chris Rosario (D-128) also attended the news conference along with state Sen. Ed Gomes (D-23). They highlighted legislation also helping the city of Bridgeport, such as line items to support the PT Barnum Museum, the Beardsley Zoo and the Discovery Museum.
“Mayor Ganim deserves credit for his extraordinary work in the past session as an advocate – not only for Bridgeport – but for all urban areas of our state." Looney said. "Bridgeport with the largest population in the state has a particular story to tell about the needs of urban areas – large populations, lots of tax exempt property, and tremendous needs. Mayor Ganim, along with Mayor Bronin of Hartford and Mayor Harp of New Haven, were very effective in coming up to testify in public hearings as advocates meeting about the needs of cities. The property tax is most burdensome on the residents of our cities. After years of talking about it, we finally did something by diverting some sales tax revenue toward property tax relief.”
The Connecticut General Assembly also passed a measure that gives Bridgeport reduced amortization payments for its police and fire pensions into the Municipal Employees Retirement System, saving the city’s budget nearly $10 million the next two years.
Bridgeport School Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz also praised the leadership of Speaker Brendan Sharkey for helping pass a bill that offers state funding to establish a regional behavioral intervention center to improve special education services.
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