When people think of a major city declaring bankruptcy the city of Detroit often comes to mind with its sky-high crime rates and areas of urban wasteland. But as more and more cities like Hartford find themselves in impossible financial situations, sometimes filing for Chapter 9 can actually be the best alternative. If the city could prove it was insolvent, what would a Hartford bankruptcy look like?
This year we’ve tried to shine a light on Connecticut’s bonded debt, as well as our pension and retiree healthcare liabilities. When all of this debt is combined, Connecticut is one of the most indebted states in the nation. A new report by J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest provides additional clarity.
The General Assembly passed a budget last week that stops driving Connecticut backward. The question is: will we take the next step and start driving forward? Last year, lawmakers passed the second-largest tax increase in state history, just five years after the largest tax increase. This year’s budget, while not good, was at least a temporary rejection of last year’s approach. It remains to be seen whether it was really a change of direction or merely a case of election-year stagefright.
Bledar Iljazi came to the United States as a child in 1986 when his family decided they could no longer live under the government of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Now the entire family - twelve members across three generations - is fleeing Connecticut and pursuing a better life in South Carolina. “The way everything was ten years ago - the economy and taxes - it wasn’t as bad, but right now for small businesses we’re getting hit with taxes left and right. They’re pretty much just making them up,” Bledar said.
Photographs taken at the Governor’s 2016 Economic Forum in February highlight a number of troubling statistics. - Poverty among minority groups is rising faster than others. - The decline in Connecticut manufacturing jobs has wiped out more than half of all job growth since the 1990s. - Middle-skill jobs in the science and technology sector are the hardest to fill. - Connecticut has some of the highest long-term unemployment rates in the nation.
Connecticut suffers from an approach to public policy that’s laser-focused on today’s urgent problems, while leaving tomorrow’s important challenges unaddressed. With lawmakers yet again cobbling together a budget at the last minute, time grows increasingly short to change the trajectory of our struggling state. A common sense approach to restoring Connecticut’s vitality should help us.