City may tax its workers who live elsewhere

Four aldermen are trying to get city employees to live in New Haven.

The aldermen have submitted a proposal to the board for a program called HomeWork that, in addition to attempting to establish a residency requirement for all applicants for city jobs, also hopes to make city employees who don’t live in New Haven give a “community contribution” of 5 percent of their salary to the city. Ward 30 Alderman Darnell Goldson, who came up with the idea, said the program is a way to address the city’s financial problems with raising taxes, as Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has proposed.

But for a city residency requirement to take effect, the state would have to overturn a 1989 ban on local governments requiring their employees to live in their municipalities. Board of Aldermen President Carl Goldfield said there is “a lot of vested interest in keeping [the state law] in place.” The four aldermen — Gerald Antunes of Ward 12, Gina Calder ’03 EPH ’08 of Ward 2 and Jacqueline James-Evans of Ward 3, in addition to Goldson — have asked the Board of Aldermen to encourage the state legislature to lift the ban.

Both Ward 1 Alderman Mike Jones ’11 and Goldfield said they support more city employees being New Haven residents. Goldfield and Jones said police officers who live in the neighborhoods they patrol tend to be more effective in their jobs. Goldfield said having teachers who are not New Haven residents sends the message to city school children that their schools are not good enough for their teacher’s children.

According to the proposal, only 37 percent of city employees live in New Haven, and non-resident city employees receive $156 million of the city payroll each year. Only 13 percent of police officers live in the city.

“City workers have to give back,” Goldson said.

Another element of Goldson’s proposal would give civil service exam takers who both live in New Haven and have graduated from a city high school 10 extra points on the test. City residents already receive 5 extra points. For city employees who move into New Haven during the calendar year in which the ordinance passes, the city would provide an automobile tax credit for the following fiscal year. Given that there are nine city union contract negotiations coming up in fiscal year 2010-’11, Goldson said he wants to include the community contribution in union contracts.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Andrea Jackson-Brooks said that if the city wants to change the state law, it should first find a state sponsor to push for the change. Goldson said he has been talking with the local state delegation.

City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said Sunday that DeStefano declined to comment on the proposal.

Comments

  • Andrea

    The city of New Haven needs to do exactly the opposite: instead of raising taxes, lower them. They have to make the city an attractive place to live rather than trying to coerce people into living here.

  • New Havener

    Andrea, you have it all wrong. This proposal is not a raise in taxes. What it does is says that if you are one of the lucky and well paid city workers who does not live in New Haven, yet benefit greatly by receiving a salary, and using city services, then you should pay some sort of tax for that benefit. This doesn’t raise taxes on New Haveners already paying taxes, but instead on those who do not.

  • ’98

    What a great incentive for companies considering a New Haven location to look elsewhere!

  • getagrocerystorefirst

    how about replacing shaw’s first before even thinking about taxing people for choosing to live elsewhere

  • Elm City

    How about a head tax on each Yale student in the city? That way the very same Yale students playing alderman can back up thier convictions with thier wallets. Whats 1% of tuition costs per student. You live here for four years and use city services. Yale studetns like suggesting and supporting these kind of ideas. Let’s see how committed you really are to helping New Haven and not just paying lip service to political correctness and resume padding.

  • hardygee

    “This doesn’t raise taxes on New Haveners already paying taxes, but instead on those who do not”

    New Havener, what other person working in New Haven isn’t already paying state and federal taxes? Unless New Haven has some super secret local payroll tax we’re all unaware of. Maybe you’re thinking of Mayor John John’s wish to have a local and regional sales tax, payroll tax, and a regional property tax. All to fund the ever increasing maw that is New Haven.

  • New Havener

    Have you very smart people even read the article. It is not a bill to tax anyone BUT New Haven government employees who do not live in New Haven. These people make up 68% of the New Haven govt workforce, taking $156 million of New Haven taxpayer funds out of New Haven. The average NH govt employee salary is $57,000, the avg household income in New Haven is $29,000. It is time for these workers to give back.

    (’98) Companies doing business in New Haven would have nothing to fear. (getagrocerystorefirst) Who says that the BOA should only work on one issue at a time, and why should they be responsible for getting a grocery store?

  • Oh Yeah !

    I am sure New Haven and Yale get plenty of subsidies from the state redistributed from CT tax payers who do not live in New Haven ! Oh but you forgot to mention that !

    Besides I find it amazing that this Eli playing politician does not appreciate the wonderful work of New Haven civil servants, just because they happen to live outside of new haven.

    He also fails to forward a valid argument as to why he thinks a teacher or police officer from New Haven will somehow be better than one who lives outside of new haven. Of course supported by relavant statistics.

  • New Havener

    To Oh Yeah: the state does provide a little relief for allowing Yale Univ and the hospitals to operate here tax free, but they never fully fund the difference between what they would be paying in taxes. I don’t remember nor have I seen anyone make disparaging comments about these public servants, so don’t try to redirect the conversation to some useless discussion. The fact is that these very well paid employees use city services everyday, and do not contribute financially to the upkeep of this city. If they are driving around town, and get a flat tire when they hit a pothole, who do you think will pay for the new tire? The New Haven taxpayers. They should pay their fair share, plain and simple.

    To Hardygee: yes they pay state and federal taxes, but they do not contribute financially to the local government, from which they receive much. Where are their cars registered? Where do they pay their property taxes on their homes? The $156 million in payroll leaving New Haven every year is 25% of the city budget.

  • GRD97

    At #9- So city employees use services every day they should be paying for? Where shall we start the discussions on Yale students, illegal immigrants, and others who use the city services every day. When shall we start charging them?How much tax money does New Haven get returned from the state dollar for dollar compared to suburban towns taxpayers? The rest of the region and the state subsidize New Haven far out of comaparison to what New Haven pays to support itself. And you want to talk about car registrations? What about the cars of Yale students, the cars of alderman and the thousands of cars of illegal immigrants and just plain crooks either registered out of state, legally or illegally? There’s a nice little pile of cash just waiting to be picked up. New Haven employees pay property and income taxes in the towns they live in. The lion’s share of those taxes are used by New Haven and the other urban centers. You want the city employees to pay an official bribe for working here, that’s fine. Now let’s start the number crunching on everyone else in the city who doesn’t contribute.

  • ward12

    “To Hardygee: yes they pay state and federal taxes, but they do not contribute financially to the local government, from which they receive much. Where are their cars registered? Where do they pay their property taxes on their homes? The $156 million in payroll leaving New Haven every year is 25% of the city budget.”

    Someone doesn’t understand the tax system in this state apparently. Wonder how much of his money he tithes to the city. Still bitter he didn’t get that municipal job I guess.

  • New Havener

    To Ward 12: I know Goldson, he had an municipal job for 5 years, left it to do other things. He also pay taxes in New Haven. I agree with him 100% on this tax thing. Either pay the tax or go work in and for whatever town they come from. I no longer want to pay my hard earned dollars to these leeches that leave and then talk about how miserable New Haven is.

    Grd97 – all of those folks you wrote about should also be taxed, especially the Yale students. I hope they are next.

  • Outrageous !

    Fine we will tax public servants who live outside of New Haven, if and only if Elis get a tax hike, because we know they are rich and from rich families. Furthermore, we must also stop ALL state and federal money from going to New Haven, because that money is from tax payers who shoud only contribute to their own communities. Agreed ? Fair is Fair !

  • New Havener

    To Outrageous:

    No problem, we’ll send th state and federal money back. In addition, we’ll send all the homeless and low income housing folks out to you. And, we’ll relocate all of the drug rehab programs to you towns. And we’ll make sure that all those nightclubs that cater to all those suburban hard drinking young troublemakers that need some much police presence are opened next to your homes. Fair is Fair, right?

  • At Elm City

    Yale students pay tuition, which given that Yale is the largest employer in New Haven, gives people JOBS. It’s not arrogance nor snobby but the truth: without Yale, New Haven would be nothing. Most Yale students do not work at all, let alone work for New Haven. So why should they be taxed? Its because of the students that professors, custodians, dining hall workers, managers, etc have jobs. Besides, WHAT city services do students use? They barely leave the Yale bubble? What….buses? Students pay for that. Supermarkets? Our money helps sustain them?

    If anything, we are a steady influx of money into the student. I suggest you get this “we hate those snotty kids” syndrome out of your head and start thinking.

  • New Heaven

    If you want to isolate New haven and restrict who can work there, stop all state and federal funding. It is that simple. Lead by example or let the public servants go about their lives.

    Furthermore, the point about not statistical evidence and supporting facts has not been adressed. I think Yale politician is just a political hack pandering to his base by attacking public servants.

  • New Havener

    To At Elm City:
    Yale students don’t use city services? How about every time they go to a downtown club, don’t they walk or ride on those streets paid for by NH taxpayer dollars? How about those policemen that protect them? How about the health dept inspectors that make sure they don’t get poisoned in the restaurants they eat in? What about the street lights that slow down traffic when they are crossing Elm Street to attend class, who pays for that? The moment they enter the city limits hey are getting some sort of service that they do not pay for. They should have been included in this proposal. I hope Goldson is reading this.

  • Anonymous

    @ New Havener:

    Yale Students do pay for those services. Taxes from their purchases go to local businesses which, in turn, support the city. More importantly, Yale provides New Haven with services of its own. We have our own police department and student health services. The University voluntarily contributes to maintaining streets, bridges, and other infrastructure on its campus. Yale’s Hospitals bring in millions of dollars for the city each year. The visitors its campus attract all support local business. Yale also makes dozens of other voluntary contributions to the local community.

    So before you cloak your greed in self-righteousness, think about what the University is actually worth to New Haven. Before you started leveling petty, punitive taxes simply to make yourself feel good, think of all the ways in which Yale does contribute. If you’d rather trade those for an insignificant head tax, you’re and idiot.

  • New Havener

    To Anonymous:

    Clearly you are a Yalie, as evidenced by you’re reducing our argument to name calling. Those sales taxes you say Yalies contribute go to the state, not the city. “We have our own police department and student health services. The University voluntarily contributes to maintaining streets, bridges, and other infrastructure on its campus.” So they maintain their own property, so what? Do you want us to believe that all Yalies never leave the campus? I’m sure that you know that the voluntary contributions made by Yale do not come close to covering the tax payments that would be made if Yale was forced to pay its FAIR share, like all of us New Haven taxpayers do.

    I’m not suggesting leveling “petty, punitive” taxes to make myself feel good, I’m suggesting that Yale pay its FAIR share like WE ALL DO! This tax brake goes back to the founding of the city, and was never meant to be permanent. This city will collapse around the high Ivy lined walls of Yale if ALL citizens do not contribute their FAIR share.