A member of the Hartford City Council is telling businesses and the state that it is time to pay up.
On Monday night, Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings introduced legislation calling for businesses and the state to be fined on behalf of their employees.
The fine would be paid by businesses with 75 employees or more, and the reason she said is because the employees are getting services that they are not paying for.
“We have 124,000 commuters which is almost the exact same residents that we have living here,” she said, adding that the drivers are welcomed, but there is a growing problem that many of them are causing. “Hartford residents are paying 100 percent of the cost for snow removal, for police protection, for fire protection, for street maintenance,” and the city is overburdened the cost.
She said part of the reason is how the city is designed.
She said “52 percent of the properties that we have in the city of Hartford are tax exempt properties. We’re talking about public buildings, were talking about other non-profit organizations.”
Jennings said she wants to solve the problem by fining businesses with over 75 employees who commute to Hartford every day.
The fine would $10 per month per employee, and the businesses would have to pay for it, not the actual employee.
“It's time for us to pay our fair share. They should take a look at the undue burden they're putting on Hartford residents,” Jennings said.
The new fine would impact some of the biggest companies, like Aetna, Hartford Hospital, The Hartford, and United Healthcare.
The fine would also be imposed on the state, which Jennings said doesn’t pay its share either.
Jennings said she is open to creating a committee to look into other ways of solving the problem.
"It sets a very unfortunate and I would say irresponsible addressing a budget deficit," said Oz Griebel of the MetroHartford Alliance. "Just the introduction of something like this sends negative signals."
He said fixing the budget burden could be squashed by not taxing more businesses.
"The way to do that is to bring more businesses in to grow the grand list. Not penalize the people who are here," Griebel said.
The bill will now go to Hartford's budget committee.
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