May 19, 2009

GOP defends ESPN, blasts Wright

The city’s Republican Party took a strong stance this week against any tax hikes that would crimp ESPN’s growth in Bristol.

Taking aim at state Rep. Chris Wright, a first-term Bristol Democrat who voted for a $3.3 billion tax package that included provisions opposed by the Bristol-based sports colossus, GOP leaders said the state’s fiscal crisis can’t be solved by smacking the companies whose growth is crucial to Connecticut’s future success.

“Can you imagine what Bristol would be without ESPN?” asked TJ Barnes, the city’s Republican chairman. “We are one lucky city.”

Wright said he opposes the tax changes included in the package he voted for and is continuing to work to strip them from the final version. He said he couldn’t oppose the entire tax bill because he didn’t like a few things in it.

But Jill Fitzgerald, the Republican whom Wright defeated in the 77th District last year, said that Wright could have voted against it without any consequences.

The Democrats, she said, “have such a huge majority” in the General Assembly that “they don’t need his vote.”

Fitzgerald said that Wright should have put his district and his community first instead of showing loyalty to party leaders.

Laura Bartok, a party activist, said that Wright is one of a number of new representatives who can expect to see a tough challenge in 2010.

“It’s not going to be a cakewalk,” Bartok said.

Wright said he considers it “a badge of honor” that the GOP has targeted him.

He said that he was elected to serve his northeastern Bristol district, not the rich Republicans of Fairfield County who are pushing so hard to see the state cut critical programs instead of raising taxes.

Wright said he doesn’t want to see taxes rise either. He said he’s working hard to keep any tax hikes as minimal as possible, particularly ones that might cause ESPN to have second thoughts about continuing to expand in Bristol.

Former state House Minority Leader Edward Krawiecki, Jr said he would like to see a push to create a high-tech, communications-related cluster of new businesses in the region that could take advantage of ESPN’s presence.

Bristol could become “a hot spot for technology and high, high IT stuff,” Krawiecki said, if officials work toward that goal.

“It runs straight to the issue you want to talk about with Chris,” Krawiecki told fellow Republicans this week.

Derek Czenczelewski, a GOP City Council hopeful in the 3rd District, said that most of ESPN’s employees are in information technology and communications, not sports broadcasting in particular.

“Technology is always huge,” he said, and ought to be pursued as a way to help Bristol grow.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

Have thet forgotten Ward??

Anonymous said...

Where is Nicastro on this issue?

Why isn't he speaking out.

Yes, both Frank and Mike!!!!

Anonymous said...


You should Poll your district and see if anybody wants to see huge tax increases!! Why do you go right to this class warfare thing when it is quite obvious nobody wants these huge tax increases. Wake up Christopher!!!

Anonymous said...

Chris Wright - as I have said before is nothing more then a puppet for the Democrats. Now its up to the City voters to notice his radical behavior.

Anonymous said...

Frank does not want to have his name in the same sentence as Chris Wright. He knows Wright is gone next time around and cant afford to be in that circle.

Concerned Conservative said...

A "badge of honor" huh Chris?

Well what you are is a DISGRACE!

Please resign now for the good of Bristol.

Anonymous said...

This is why I voted for Jill. As a union member I NEVER vote for the person they TELL me to.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this is old news by now. I think the GOP AND the DEMS (including Wright) know that he f'd up. But seriously, GOP, find some new fodder....

Amanda said...

Steve, can you answer that question, “Can you imagine what Bristol would be without ESPN?”

Now, I haven't lived in Bristol for a while, but I don't remember ESPN doing much of anything for the community. How many jobs? How much tax money comes the city's way? How many people who work there actually live here?

Just curious why the local elected leaders are so keen to suck up to the corporation. Is it the only major employer left?

Odin said...

The GOP is doing the only thing they know how to do...beat up on a freshman legislator. They're afraid to pull this c**p with Colapietro or Nicastro, because Frank and Tom have been around long enough to know how to tell these two-faced hypocrites from the dead-but-not-yet-buried GOP where to stick it. But Chris willl learn...if not this term, the next one or the next. The GOP couldn't beat him as a challenger, so they sure aren't going to be able to beat him as an incumbent.

Anonymous said...

ESPN really has some clout . Too bad the taxpayers are burdened with paying so ESPN can get a free ride .

Concerned Conservative said...

New fodder? What the h___ are you talking about?

These tax increases are an issue NOW. It just became public in the last week or two that Representative (of something) Wright is for a sales tax and more property taxes on ESPN.

This issue is enormously important to Bristol. It's not "fodder"! Get a clue!

Anonymous said...

Nicastro is voting against the tax increase.

Anonymous said...

4:45 - The Democrats used Bush as their scapegoat for 8 years, that didn't seem to get they'll use it for the next 8 years too

Anonymous said...

How can anyone think that ESPN gets a "free ride." You have no clue how much money ESPN contributes to this city.

Amanda, ESPN frequently sends employees to help out around the city, they are the largest taxpayer in the city and have been so for many years now. They continue to grow, and many of the 3400 employees live in the area, if not Bristol.

ESPN is VITAL to the existence of Bristol. If we lose their continued business, it's game over for the city. Good luck paying your taxes when they leave if you think you are already paying too much for ESPN now.

Anonymous said...

Nicastro has not said A WORD on this issue.

First time ever that I have known him to be quiet!

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

I know this will stick in the craw of most of you people here but considering the size of the complex that ESPN has in Bristol, do you really think that removing the property tax will suddenly mean the whole, huge facility will relocate?


This argument that taxes drive away businesses is well...stupid.

Taxes pay for things that Businesses need to be a business.

And well, this is also why ESPN has lobbyists.

ESPN doesn't need the GOP to do their work for them. They have grown ups on the payroll.

Tired Taxpayer said...


It would be nice to know what ESPN pays in taxes to the city as a percentage of incoming revenue from their proerty taxes alone. Just might shine some light on the subject for educated discussion.

Anonymous said...

This is taken from Steve's article 3 months ago and it clearly states that ESPN is by far the largest tax payer in our city. Seems to me we don't want to see them expand anywhere else, but in Bristol.

ESPN towers over rest
The city’s largest taxpayer, ESPN, owns taxable property worth only $2.4 million more than last year.
That’s because much of its growth doesn’t count until it’s been on the property rolls for years.
But its $247.8 million tally on this year’s Grand List is almost eight times as much as the city’s number two taxpayer: the Covanta trash-burning plant.
Since taxpayers actually pick up the incinerator’s property tax bill, through the regional trash agency, that’s probably just as well.
City Assessor Thomas DeNoto said he’s not concerned that ESPN alone pays 5.6 percent of the city’s property taxes because the company is so clearly committed to remaining a part of the community.
“They’re just a fabulous property owner,” DeNoto said. “They’re always cutting edge.”
The company wouldn’t have built backup power plants to run its operations on the ESPN campus off Middle Street, he said, if it had any thoughts of moving away.
Besides, DeNoto said, ESPN has always been “very forthcoming” about its plans.
“They’re an open book to the city,” he said.
Other top taxpayers include Bristol Center, the current owner of the former General Motors plant on Chippens Hill; Bristol Plaza; Bristol Commons; Carpenter Reality, the owner of Pine Plaza; Lake Compounce; Connecticut Light & Power; and two manufacturers, Barnes Group and Theis Precision Steel.

TOP 10 Taxpayers

1 ESPN $247.8 million

2 COVANTA BRISTOL $42.8 million

4 BRISTOL CENTER $36.3 million



6 BRISTOL PLAZA $22.6 million

7 LAKE COMPOUNCE $19.4 million

8 BRISTOL PLAZA $16.7 million


10 BARNES GROUP $13.9 million

Anonymous said...

And Krawiecki wants democrat support for Corp Counsel?

It is not surprising that he isn't gettingtheir support.

Concerned Conservative said...


Nicastro is against the tax increases.

If Colapietro is for it, believe me he'll get his share.

And to the ding-bat who doesn't understand what our largest tax payer does for the community, it's time for her to wake up.

Anonymous said...


You list ESPN as one of Bristol's top ten "taxpayers", and they surely are, but you cite their assessment, not what they actually pay. I know you get this info from the tax ASSESSOR, but I would be more interested in what the tax COLLECTOR has to say about them.

Concerned Conservative said...

May 20, 2009 9:20 AM:

One major issue here is a state sales tax which Wright voted for. So the city tax collector has no input on that.

Capitol Watchdog said...

This one issue represents the whole philosophical difference here in the State Legislature. As we are in the midst of an economic crisis, the democratic majority here is proposing this 3.3 billion dollar tax increase that will affect all of us, not just ESPN. We will see an increase in sales tax; an increase in our state income tax; a 30% surcharge on all corporations, and so on. I am working here and I see many, many areas where government can be trimmed and made more effective but who is there to hold the state government accountable?

Anonymous said...

I agree - I just don't understand why the media doesn't do their job and help bring the truth to light and hold our politicians accountable. Truth is, they can't keep on spending and taxing. We are heading into some very dark economic times. I for one do not want the government running all our private sector businesses. They haven't proved that they can run a business - instead, they run a deficit and look for creative ways to hike our taxes.

Chris continues to prove that he isn't the Wright man for the job. He was sent to Hartford by the 77th district to represent us. Maybe Gardner was on vacation and not at the capital lobbying the day of the vote and therefore couldn't give Chris sound advice.

Note to Chris - ESPN doesn't need Bristol. I am thankful that ESPN is here.

Anonymous said...

Capitol Watchdog: Don't tease us with "I see many, many areas where government can be trimmed"; give us specifics!

Capitol Watchdog said...

To 11:12 - I'm happy to give an example of where many dollars can be saved. We currently have a $900 million dollar budget for Dept. of Children and Families, but we have many problems with DCF so we also have the Commission on Children, The Children's Trust Fund, The Child's Advocate Office, and the Chief Child Protection Atty. just to name a few. I'm sorry I don't have the costs for all of these other entities right off the top of my head, but I can tell you that the reason we have all of this is for political reasons. With politics and bureaucracy when something doesn't work right, you can't fire people and correct the issues, you create another entity so the public sees something being done. One of the governor's ideas was to cut and merge some of these people into DCF and cut the layers of bureaucracy. But immediately I began to hear the rhetoric that the governor doesn't care about the children and is cutting services. It is a joke because the more entities you have, the less likely you will see positive results. The governor acknowledged that when we had the money this issue didn't surface, but now that we don't have the money we should trim down the bloated government. You could hear the desperation in her voice. But with 112 or so democrats and 37 republicans in the house, our representation is extremely out of balance.

Anonymous said...

Bartok is more than a democrat activist: she was Wrights campaign manager, and is a democrat legislative employyee.

Anonymous said...

The cowardly wimp Concerned Citizen can't be too smart because he won't come forward with all his Know-it-all knowledge. He is so brave he doesn't want anyone to know who he is. "But I know" Where is the super cowardly "unknown" Critic? What a useless joke !

Concerned Conservative said...

anaon May 22, 2009 2:04 PM:

I'm trying to figure out what makes me a "cowardly wimp" and you not.

Please explain.

Anonymous said...

You can't figure anything out you cowardly wimp

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