Yelping about Hartford taxes, Luke Bronin doesn’t come close to paying his fair share

File this one under the wonderful world of the rich and famous.

Greenwich Native Luke Bronin, whose short-term goal is to be Hartford’s next mayor, owns a fully renovated 5,227 square-foot Brownstone off Bushnell Park in Hartford. Built in 1865, Bronin paid $400,000 to buy the building in May 2012 and then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to completely renovate the property.

According to the City of Hartford Assessors records, Bronin’s Brownstone is now in “excellent” condition.  In fact, the renovation project even earned Bronin and his architect wife the 2014 Alice Washburn Architectural Award for best renovation and addition project in Connecticut.

While the prestigious Bronin home is potentially worth $1 million or more, for tax purposes it is assessed at $112, 779 leaving Bronin with a paltry 2015 Hartford tax bill of $8,378.36 plus a few hundred more for his BMW 328XI.

In recent days Bronin and his political operatives have been attacking Mayor Pedro Segarra for raising taxes in order to try and maintain city services.

Yet at the same time, Bronin has utterly failed to address how he would deal with Hartford’s unfair and discriminatory property tax system, except to suggest that he would give major companies more tax breaks.

Bronin has also conveniently skipped over how he is personally benefiting from Hartford’s warped property tax system.

But that appears to be the Bronin way.

Luke Bronin’s campaign is violating Connecticut campaign finance law.

Bronin is also lying about how long he was a resident of Hartford.

And now he is claiming that he’ll solve Hartford’s problems and challenges without having to raise taxes.  (A protégée of Dannel -I won’t raise taxes- Malloy for sure.)

So what is the truth about Luke Bronin and his failure to pay his fair share in taxes?

In January 2013, Luke Bronin sold his $1.9 million home in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C. and moved “back” to Hartford.

Half a year earlier, on May 21, 2012, Bronin purchased an old brownstone off Bushnell Park for $400,000 and the Bronin’s began their renovation project.

According to a story in CT Magazine, the renovation project won them the Alice Washburn Awards for best renovation and addition.

As CT Magazine explained about the award,

“….when you move through the grand residential home of Luke and Sara Bronin and their three small children, it is easy to see why.

They were able to move into the home after nearly a year of work, and now that they’re settled Bronin admits the location is as wonderful as they always imagined it would be. Bushnell Park is directly across the street from the brownstone and they are immediately adjacent to the State Capitol, which allows her husband, who serves as the governor’s legal counsel, to walk to work every day.

The dramatic 32-foot kitchen-dining room, with two working fireplaces, was created by combining four different rooms. The owners painstakingly restored the historic mahogany paneling at right, and added a complementary wine cabinet.

What emerged was a meticulously decorated, four-story home where each generation is given its own private living space—the kids on the top floor with parents below on the third. ‘We thought the kids would love having their own floor, and they do!’ said Bronin. ‘From their playroom, they can see City Hall and most of Bushnell Park…The third floor is the ‘adults’ floor.’

The second floor, which is the main floor of the house, is arranged for versatility, allowing the couple to throw small dinner parties or large family gatherings. Bronin explains that, ‘There’s a flow on that floor but with distinct spaces separated by the historic staircase.’

‘There are nice details; the new front bay was perfectly rendered,’ said the Washburn jurors. ‘Given the tone of much of the work entered, the jury appreciated the wit that was shown in the blending of aesthetics celebrated in this project. This is a good example of what this award program is hoping to achieve, bringing the traditional to the present.’

Working with Sarah Bronin’s own Architecture, Interior Design and Furnishings Company were a series of other contractors.

Interesting, for the man who says he will bring jobs to Hartford, only one of the contractors he used apparently even lives in Hartford.

According to published reports, the renovation of Bronin’s property was completed with the help of the following companies;

MEP Design: LN Consulting, LLC, Winooski, VT

Lead Carpenter:  Hartford Builders LLC, Marlborough, CT

Mason for Brownstone Restoration:  Damiata Masonry, Cromwell, CT

Mason for Interior and front courtyard: K&G Masonry, Farmington, CT

Mason for Interior:  Capital Masonry, Hartford, CT (Owner actually lives in Bloomfield)

Mechanical/HVAC:  Connecticut Heating & Cooling LLC,, East Hartford,  CT

Electric: CLG Electric LLC, Somers, CT

Plumbing:  TC Plumbing LLC, Hartford, CT

Painting:  Washbond Custom Painting LLC, West Hartford, CT

Custom Cabinetry:  Heartwood Custom Cabinetry, Marlborough, CT

Back Courtyard Landscaping & Design: Earthworks LLC, Tolland, CT

For those who want to pictures of the home, they can be found on the Connecticut Magazine website at: http://www.connecticutmag.com/Connecticut-Magazine/July-2014/2014-Alice-Washburn-Architectural-Award-Winners/

But while the property has been significantly improved, the assessment on Bronin’s property for Hartford property tax purposes has remained almost unchanged.

A  house that should be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is actually assessed at $112,779

2012-2013 Assessment:         $95,659

2013-2014 Assessment:         $91,159

2014-2015 Assessment:         $110,023

2015-201 Assessment:           $112,779

In each of those years, the Mill Rate Bronin was charged was 74.29 mills

So the question remains – what would Luke Bronin do about a system in which his Hartford property tax payments aren’t even close to what he should fairly be paying.

  • buygoldandprosper

    The little people pay taxes. That is how people in Greenwich see it.

    Speaking of taxes and budgets!

    JOB CREATION MALLOY STYLE!!

    “The University of Connecticut confirmed Thursday that it started sending layoff notices last month to its employees in Storrs, its regional campuses, and its health center.”
    Danny sure jumped on the news that Connecticut unemployment is now closer to a national level…trouble is, the jobs are all no benefit, minimum wage crap. Not like Cathy Malloy’s job, or that of Danny’s spawn. We are talking about the little people…
    Just wait for GE to wack. Norwalk will be hurting. The little people will be hurting. Danny and his security detail will be planning a trip to India to celebrate the creation of 2,000+ UTC jobs and add another name on his travel bucket list…one someone else’s dime, of course.
    When his second term is up, there will be nobody left to turn the lights out in Corrupticut.

    • realsaramerica

      Hey #notallGreenwich. I pay taxes. Both Self employment taxes and non-discounted property tax, and employed tax for the two teaching jobs I work. But I know the attitude of which you speak we’ll. It’s not limited to Greenwich, trust me.

  • Ex Resident

    This is the biggest problem with Hartford’s taxes. The only properties that they properly value are the ones owned by major businesses, and they can’t vote. Go out to Prospect or Scarborough and you’ll see the same phenomenon. Million dollar homes valued at significantly less than that. Hartford needs to properly value its properties, in accordance with state law, and levy the same tax rates on every property in town. This is how Democrats have killed the city’s tax base: they’ve hidden behind the tax cap plan and squeezed big businesses (who can’t vote) and haven’t been subjected to political pressure to keep rates low. This causes businesses to flee first to the suburbs and then to the south or to India. If you keep tax rates manageable, then businesses won’t leave, or would at least be less likely to leave.

    • jonpelto

      Well said…

  • Amy Bergquist

    The work was completed after Hartford’s last property tax revaluation in October 2011. The property will be revalued, as will all other Hartford properties, in the October 2016 revaluation. How Bronin’s property is handled is no different than any other property tax payer. This isn’t really “newsworthy,” if you’d like to call it that.

  • Amy Bergquist

    And two years ago Pedro formed a City tax task force that came up with a recommendation that the homeowner assessment ratio did need to be raised to equalize it with corporate tax payers. What has been done with that recommendation on Pedro’s watch? Nothing. Let’s call a spade a spade. The assessment ratio equalization is the third rail in Hartford politics- bring it up and no one is going to vote for you. Because homeowners are the ones doing the voting in Hartford and they don’t want to hear about having their taxes raised. Have you heard Pedro making any mention of this in his ideas to fix Hartford’s revenue problem? No.

    • jonpelto

      Amy, you are highlighting the exact point I am trying to
      make. Luke Bronin says he is a “change
      agent”. This isn’t about Pedro’s failure or non-failure, it is about what Bronin will do differently. He is certainly benefiting –
      like others – from Hartford’s absurd property tax system. If I renovate my house, the assessment is
      changed the following year and my taxes go up since my property is worth
      more. Bronin says taxes are too high –
      meaning property taxes are too high. Part of the answer is going to a system
      that changes assessments annually to track improvements so people are paying their fair share. Does Bronin support or oppose such a change?

  • Emily G

    This is really unfair. It’s not like the Bronins are the only Hartford homeowners with a residence assessed for tax purposes at far bow its value. We all fall under the same structure, and that’s what’s squeezing out our commercial property owners, who pay full freight on tha mill rate. What’s Segarra’s West End mansion valued at, and what does he pay? And what’s his proposal to fix the system that benefits him with respect to residential property tax?

    • jonpelto

      Emily, as I just responded to Amy – You are highlighting the exact point I am trying to make. Luke Bronin says he is a “change agent”. This isn’t about Pedro’s failure or non-failure, it is about what Bronin will do differently. He is certainly benefiting – like others – from Hartford’s absurd property tax system. If I renovate my house, the assessment is changed the following year and my taxes go up since my property is worth more. Bronin says taxes are too high – meaning property taxes are too high. Part of the answer is going to a system that changes assessments annually to track improvements so people are paying their fair share. Does Bronin support or oppose such a change?