The same Hartford City Council person that wanted to give herself over a $100,000 per year expense account a short time ago, now wants to apparently impose a commuter tax on the employees of some of Hartford's largest corporations. Here is more on the proposal http://www.wfsb.com/story/30028075/hartford-councilwoman-wants-businesses-state-to-contribute-to-cost-of-services
This idea is about as crazy as a six figure expense account for Council people in a cash strapped City.
I'm really not sure where Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings gets her ideas from, but maybe she might want to look into some actual financial restraint before floating these ideas.
Taxing commuters to Hartford's largest employers could quite possibly be the incentive for those employers to start looking outside of Hartford for their corporate homes. Corporate loyalty is not what it used to be a couple decades ago, and we have seen many large corporations willing to relocate when the taxation leash gets too tight.
The City of Hartford has an opportunity to show that it understands what "fiscal responsibility" actually means, and that responsibility is not shown tapping into the pockets of the working class to solve their own monetary excesses.
With a new administration on the horizon, including an entirely new Council Majority, change even symbolic change, can begin to set the tone that Hartford is once again open for business and ready to set the tone of responsibility.
A good start would be to end the old policy of political patronage where each Council person brings in their own Council Assistant at a salary exceeding $45,000 a year plus benefits. These are usually people connected to the Councilperson by friendship or a loyal campaign worker that helped get an individual elected. The work load for a Councilperson is not that great that they each need a fulltime assistant.
Here is a little more on how these "aides" are selectedhttp://articles.courant.com/2012-12-12/community/hc-hartford-council-assistant-1213-20121212_1_weinsteins-federal-lawsuit-eric-patton
In the State Legislature 3 State Reps share one assistant. That is a system that seems to have worked out well at the Capitol, and the time has come to move to that in Hartford. We don't need, and we can't afford, 9 separate Council assistants. It might be good for the Councilperson's ego, but it is terrible for the budget funded by the taxpayers.
It is also the time for a greater level of accountability at Hartford City Hall, both out of responsibility for the taxpayers of Hartford as well as to increase the productivity of City Hall. The effectiveness of City Government has been widely criticized by constituents that feel that Hartford Government has been less than responsive to their needs. Greater accountability should also set the tone that taxpayers should feel comfortable that they are getting their money's worth.
Hartford does not have a revenue problem as much as it has a spending problem. This puts us in a very difficult position when we look to the State for additional financial help. We need to show ,first and foremost that we are responsible stewards of those dollars.
A commuter tax will not send the right message. Showing financial restraint and responsibility will be a much better start. Hartford needs a smarter ,leaner operation in line with its financial resources.
There isn't a better time to get started than now.