Lawmakers speak out after state reaches agreement to pay off Hartford’s debt

HARTFORD — The city of Hartford has reached an agreement to have the state pay off the city's approximately $550 million in general obligation debt.

The Hartford Courant reports the deal calls for the state to pick up Hartford's annual debt payments, but the city would be responsible for about $5 million a year in payments on its new minor league ballpark.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin had threatened to file for bankruptcy, citing the city's debt, pension obligations and the lack of taxable property.

Lawmakers agreed to a bailout in October.

In exchange for the extra funds, Hartford was placed under state oversight in January.

That oversight board will review budgets, contracts and labor agreements. Hartford also can't issue new bonds without the group's permission.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin released the following statement:

“Over the past two years, we’ve made deep reductions in spending, negotiated dramatic savings with labor, and partnered with our biggest employers, and this agreement with the state is the last step to put the city on a more sustainable path,” said Mayor Bronin.

“We’ve faced Hartford’s fiscal crisis honestly and directly, and I’m proud that we worked to build a new partnership that works instead of just faking it or kicking the can.  Without this kind of partnership, our capital city is bound to struggle if not to fail, because it just doesn’t work to have a city with half its property tax-exempt — a city built on the tax base of a suburb. Even with this agreement, the city’s budgets will remain very tough and very tight for years to come.”