MAYOR ANNOUNCES PRIORITIES FOR 2008 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
(1/28/2008) NEW HAVEN- During a press conference today, along side four members of the Board of Alderman, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. announced New Haven’s priorities for a 2008 legislative agenda. “There are four main areas where we are asking for the State to step in, provide resources and support our efforts,” said DeStefano. “At the top of our list are: tax relief/Circuit Breaker, prison re-entry programs, Downtown Crossing and PILOT funding.”
The Mayor rolled-out the plan he supports for tax relief for homeowners: a circuit breaker that would cap taxes for residents statewide at six percent of their income and for all residents in municipalities, like New Haven, with a homeownership rate below 50 percent. “It’s time for real tax relief for our residents,” said DeStefano. “This plan makes sense and we can do this.” The circuit breaker plan would require the State to make-up the difference in tax revenues to municipalities. DeStefano suggested the state revoke property tax credits as one means of revenue to fund this program.
DeStefano also called on the State to back prison re-entry and pre-release programs citing that the City received 25 releases back into the community every week but that many of these ex-offenders do not have the skills, education, resources or services necessary to become productive members of society. “There is an inevitable need for services, housing, education and transitional programs to help ex-offenders as they return to our City. This is something I’d like to see statewide but it disproportionably impacts urban centers like New Haven. Therefore, I have to push for real change to occur here quickly.”
Carl Goldfield, President of the Board of Aldermen called for the State to fully-fund Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), funding the state provides to aid municipalities that house hospitals, colleges, universities and other tax exempt properties. The State’s PILOT reimbursement to New Haven has decreased 21 percent since 2001.
DeStefano spoke about the vision for the City that he has been promoting during his community meetings throughout the City including eliminating the current route 34 highway between the Coliseum site and the Air Rights garage to make space for new mixed-use development. The creation of new businesses, housing and parking in this stretch of land would yield millions in tax revenue and help to shift the tax burden away from the City’s homeowners.
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