Prison Expansion Won’t Aid Local Economy

Letter to the editor in the Hartford Courant by Peter Wagner pointing out that government facilities such as prisons do not pay property taxes.

by Peter Wagner, August 1, 2002

To the editor of the Hartford Courant:

Your story “Study Of Prison Project Impact Promised” reports that 6
residents spoke out at Somers Town Hall on Wednesday against a proposed
prison expansion, and only one in support. That resident said the town
needed “money for our tax base”. Unfortunately for the town of Somers,
government facilities like prisons don’t pay property taxes.

According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics Report released on Tuesday, the
number of state prisoners nationally is declining. Connecticut is alone
among its neighbors in continuing to add to its prison population. As other
states are learning, sentencing reform and reducing the number of prisoners
eliminates the need for expensive new prisons and makes limited state
dollars available to communities for more productive development projects.

Peter Wagner
Prison Policy Initiative
Springfield, MA
August 1, 2002

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