Legislators Pass Hartford Property Tax Remedy
Every few years, Hartford legislators have to weigh the concerns of homeowners and city businesses in order to figure out a way to avoid huge residential tax increases. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, that has happened again this year. Residential property taxes are based on a percentage of a home's assessed value. In most places, that's 70 percent. In Hartford, it's about 26 percent. It's a situation that has angered many in the business community who thought they were paying more than their fair share of the city's tax bill. Now, five years after the legislature's latest attempt to address the matter, it has resurfaced. Should the legislature not act, the consequences could be dire. Here's State Representative Matt Ritter. "If we did nothing, resident taxes go up 125 percent." Instead, Ritter and his colleagues agreed on a plan that would incrementally raise property taxes beginning in 2012. But there's a new element to the bill -- if the city can keep spending down and lower the amount of taxes it collects, businesses say they'll pay more than they otherwise would. "You guys could can find a way to decrease taxes good for you. We'll let the assessment rates stay the same. No increase at all." "With this bill we are supporting you and your residents. Now help your residents and do your the best you can. It doesn't mean spending can't go up. Of course it can. But be reasonable. Be fair." The measure passed the house with only six dissenting votes. One of them was possible mayoral candidate and State Representative Kelvin Roldan. "Homeowners in Hartford will see dramatic increases which could lead to as much as 10 to 20 percent over the next five years." Roldan was the only member of the city's delegation to oppose the bill. He says it favors big business. The measure now goes to the state senate. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.