By Bobby Berriault
I take issue with Mayor Erin Stewart’s recent assertion that our city’s economy is better than ever. While it is true that a few businesses have moved into New Britain – namely the food truck that is downtown a few hours a week, for every business that has moved into our city, three to four businesses have fled New Britain – due in large part to Mayor Stewart overseeing the largest property tax increase in our city’s history. Our property taxes have risen over 16% in her two terms in office, more than any other Mayor has ever raised taxes in New Britain’s history.
As a result of Stewart’s tax hikes, Stanley Manufacturing closed several facilities in town and moved over 200 jobs to nearby Southington, which has a much cheaper tax rate. Mitch’s department store in downtown shuttered. Go Ape announced that they were no longer going to operate in New Britain, due to the exorbitant rent rates the city imposes on them. Dozens of other stores along Arch Street, the East Side, Downtown and elsewhere have recently closed. New Britain has lost countless restaurants, retail stores, thrift shops, and manufacturing companies in the last four years that Stewart has been Mayor.
The honest truth is the New Britain economy is in terrible shape. Of the 169 municipalities, New Britain has the highest unemployment behind Hartford, Bridgeport, and Waterbury. As a result, children are going to bed hungry at night. The homeless have grown in numbers and are spending their nights freezing, because of the Stewart administration’s negligent attitude towards them. People are suffering.
We can do much better. Mayor Stewart is only interested in advancing her own political career as she runs for Governor, and I want someone in the Mayor’s office who puts people before politics.
Bobby Berriault has a exploratory committee to explore running for city elected office in the 2017 elections.