Bronin: With no state budget, Hartford to run out of money in 60 days

HARTFORD --  The mayor of Hartford said the city would seek permission to file for bankruptcy if it doesn't get the state aid it needs by early November because of state budget gridlock.

Mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter Thursday to legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.  Lawmakers haven't been able to agree on a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 and the following year.

Malloy is running the government under his limited spending authority and is expected to unveil a new budget plan Friday. Bronin said the city won't be able to meet its financial obligations in about two months if the budget isn't enacted.

Mayor Bronin said Thursday, this year the city is facing a $50 million deficit and the city asking for at least an additional $40 million in state aid.

“We do not have the tools at the local level to solve this problem alone. We do not see a clear path in meeting our financial obligations in the month of November, approximately 60 days," said Bronin.

The letter outlines what the city sees as three options the state could take moving forward.

First, give Hartford just enough assistance to avoid short-term liquidity problems, without the structural reforms necessary to achieve long-term sustainability, and without the investment necessary to achieve vibrancy and strength.

Second, write off the city's problems as "unsolvable," resulting in a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing in the coming weeks. If that is the case, Bronin said Connecticut would be the first state in the nation to have its capital city go bankrupt.

"We want to avoid bankruptcy, if possible, and filing for bankruptcy because the state has failed to adopt a budget, rather than because we have collectively determined that it is the best way to achieve sustainability, would be a sad commentary on the state’s budgetary gridlock," said Bronin, emphasizing these first two options are "irresponsible."

The final option, the state could "embrace a farsighted, collaborative approach" in a partnership with Hartford to help put the city on a sustainable path to sustainability and strength by doing the following things:

  • Fairly reimburse Hartford for its disproportionate share of non-taxable property.
  • Create a mechanism that allows Hartford to achieve fair labor contracts that truly reflect the City’s ability to pay.
  • Join us in insisting that bondholders and other stakeholders participate in the solution.
  • Continue to invest in what’s working.

"This is the wisest, most responsible course of action, most likely to put Hartford on a sustainable path and most likely to boost Connecticut’s economic competitiveness. For this approach to be successful, every one of those four elements is necessary. If any one element of this approach is missing, the rest would be inadequate for achieving true sustainability," said Bronin.

Click here to read full letter.

*** The Associated Press contributed to this report ***