Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fernandez and the OneCity Tax Vision (Video, Transcript)

The voice you're hearing in this video is that of Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent.  We're keeping a running list of things pertaining to the mayoral race here on NHV, all viewable here.
This video originally appeared on the New Haven Independent

Paul Bass:  "Fair Haven's taxes go up if East Rock's taxes go down, correct?"
Henry Fernandez: "Right, but let's be clear; wealth in Fair Haven goes up."
PB:  "So if your wealth increases in your house you can afford more taxes."
HF:  "Exactly."
PB:  "You have to borrow to do that."
HF:  "Well, no it happens in a number of ways.  One is, if property values go up across a neighborhood like Fair Haven, then you're generating significantly more wealth in the community, which allows more businesses to open which creates jobs, meaning more people can pay their bills, including their tax bills.  If you increase wealth in the community, it means more people will go to college, graduate from high school and go to college.  It means more people can pay their bills, including tax bills, and it also means that crime will go down.  And if crime goes down, we all benefit.  And the issue is not whether or not people are going to pay taxes.  It's whether they're going to get quality services for those taxes, and whether those taxes are going to be fair, and equally applied."
PB:  "We gotta improve the schools and cut crime.  That costs money.  Are you actually going to keep spending where it is, without increasing it, and also improve schools and cut crime?"
HF:  "So I actually think we can make very significant changes, or improvements, in the schools and with regard to crime, without major new investments from the taxpayers of the City of New Haven.  I think it goes to, for instance, with regard to the schools, a very aggressive approach to making sure we have the best principals, leaders at the school building level.  We wouldn't be paying those principals more, but we would be investing..."
PB:  "...Hire better."
HF:  "Hire better, but also provide professional development to them."
"On the crime reduction, we're seeing that you need a lot of overtime or extra bodies for the programs like Project Longevity, whether it's Chicago or New Haven."
HF:  "Yeah.  Switching from the schools to policing, one of the issues we have with policing as a result of a number of changes, we're seeing a significant number of officers retire.  And because of that high level of retirement, we have very high levels of vacancy in the department.  So a big part of the reason we have overtime costs is because we don't have the officers to fill the regular duty jobs.  And so part of the solution with regard to overtime is to fill those vacancies, and make sure we have enough officers so we don't have to turn to overtime.  We do need to maintain the improvements that we've seen in terms of community policing, officers walking the beat, but a big part of the way we do that is filling our ranks, so we don't have to turn to overtime."