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New London Mayor Pushes For Measures To Alleviate Income Inequality

New London, Connecticut, City Hall
Susan Haigh / Associated Press
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New London, Connecticut, City Hall

New London, Connecticut, Mayor Michael Passero said Thursday that his city and suburbs are hard hit by income inequality. He told advocates that he supports state tax reforms that would alleviate pressure from Black and Latino households that experience economic disparity the most.

Passero said he’s seen this division imposed on his city.

“We’re surrounded by great affluence, suburbs that I think you can fairly say suck the life out of the city,” Passero said.

Passero spoke as a panelist during a Connecticut Voices for Children forum. The group proposed reforms that would shift taxes from the working class to the wealthiest.

Advocates say income inequality is greater in Connecticut than the U.S., and the pandemic has only made matters worse.

The group called for an extension of a $600 unemployment benefit that they say helped bridge the income gap during the pandemic.

In Connecticut, the median household income is nearly $115,000, but in New London, it’s $40,000.

"I can’t tell you how many families in New London that would really benefit greatly from $115,000 — just the average income in Connecticut would be fantastic for us in New London. Yeah, it would change us," Passero said.

The group says the wealth gap has widened along racial lines. In Connecticut, almost 30 percent of Black households and 50 percent of Latino households have no investments to fall back on.