Mayoral candidates Toni Harp ARC ’78 and Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 engaged in a virtual back-and-forth on Friday over the viability of a number of tax reforms advanced by Elicker.
The Harp campaign released a press statement Friday afternoon to “fact-check” Elicker’s statement that his ’75 solutions’ campaign platform would not require new revenue. Harp delineated numerous proposals — including a Prepared Food and Beverage Tax, a more progressive income tax and a shift in property taxes toward regional administration that would place a higher burden on the suburbs — that would require authorization from both the Connecticut General Assembly and the Governor.
“Virtually every one of his ’75 solutions’ potentially costs money,” Harp said in the release. “If he can’t get the money from the state, he’s going to have to raise property taxes on New Haven families to pay for them.”
The critique is in line with Harp’s main attack against her opponent: that Elicker lacks governing experience and the ability to build consensus. At Tuesday’s debate, she argued that he succeeded in passing only a meager number of initiatives during his time representing Ward 10 on the New Haven Board of Aldermen.
Harp asked Elicker at the debate which committees of the General Assembly he would need to go to in order to secure funding for his tax hikes. He did not specifically name committees but said that he has testified before the General Assembly in the past and that knowledge of the city’s budget and administration is more critical than knowledge of the state’s.
“Although some of these ideas are noble, they require the cooperation of state government to implement them,” Harp added. “Justin showed that he doesn’t know the first thing about how to get this done. He simply lacks the necessary experience.”
The Elicker campaign fired back with their own Friday evening press release, fact-checking Harp’s fact-check. Elicker defended his plans to reform the state tax system to make it more fair for city residents. He said in the release that Harp failed to go to bat for New Haven when city lawmakers were fighting for additional revenue sources for municipalities, such as fully funding Connecticut’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.
“Harp either opposes these state tax reforms that would move subsidies away from suburban towns and help cities like New Haven or is unable herself to get things done at the state level,” Elicker said in the release. “More importantly, we are running for mayor of the City of New Haven, not State Representative.”