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Dan Haar: Hartford troubles could have wide impact

Early this week, the Business Council of Fairfield County will host Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin in Stamford to talk about a possible bankruptcy of the capital city.

Neither the council nor the mayor’s office announced the confab and there are no public events connected with Bronin’s trek down to the much healthier city that passed Hartford in population four years ago. But the gathering will amplify the idea that the pain from an ailing central city in a small state throbs from border to border.

“We’re meeting with him because you can’t have a state in which its capital city goes bankrupt,” said Joe McGee, vice president for policy at the council and a former state economic development commissioner. “There’s got to be an urban strategy and Fairfield County has as much a stake in this as anyone.”

That’s true for lots of reasons, from the simple fact that residents and institutions in this part of the state could well hold hundreds of millions of dollars in shaky Hartford debt, to the more layered idea that state finances — read: stable taxes — depend on functioning cities across Connecticut.

Climbing the ladder of complexity, we have a bond market that may or may not punish municipalities not named Hartford in the event of a capital city bankruptcy — there’s a lot of debate about that among analysts.

Tim Holler