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Rachel Gretencord's Blogs

Town Profiles: 2019 Updates Now Online

map of Connecticut

While CERC offers a wide range of services, one of our most well-known and popular offerings are the CERC Town Profiles. Covering all 169 municipalities in Connecticut, the Town Profiles offer the reader a nuanced view of the economic and demographic characteristics of each municipality, including information such as population, major employers, education, fiscal issues, labor force and housing.

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Modern Economic Development with a Focus on Inclusivity

In years past, economic development focused primarily on job creation and GDP growth as ways to measure progress. While these are still important measures, modern economic development practices have expanded to include a focus on inclusivity—making sure that economic benefits and an improved standard of living accrue to residents across the spectrum, and not just to those in select categories.

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Environmental and Economic Effects of the Connecticut Transfer Act

Last fall, a group of commercial and residential brokers, land use attorneys, licensed environmental professionals, economic developers, and others, met to discuss the elements of the Property Transfer Act. The Transfer Act was first adopted in 1985 and was subsequently amended over the years to encourage the clean-up of properties with environmental challenges. In current practice, the statute has negatively impacted economic growth without realizing many of the anticipated environmental outcomes.

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Keeping Connecticut a Leader in Clean, Efficient, and Renewable Energy

It’s sunny and 86 degrees out today - the time of year to hit the beach, grill some burgers, and hope that the rooftop solar panels on my house are cranking out more energy than my air conditioner is sucking away. (Today, it may be a toss-up.) While the northeast is known for having higher energy costs than other areas of the nation, one bright spot is that there is greater financial and political incentive to implement clean, renewable, and energy-efficient technology here, which is reflected in Connecticut’s economic data.

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Spending Wisely: Making Good Public Investment Decisions in a Tough Fiscal Environment

The state’s budget issues have precipitated significant financial tightening for many municipalities and agencies across the state. This environment has generated renewed urgency to realize cost savings, while maintaining or increasing the level of service provided. Similarly, businesses that need to improve their performance need a decision-making process to determine where to most effectively spend limited resources.

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Using a Fiscal Health Analysis to Support the Municipal Budgeting Process

The decline in property values after 2008 created remarkable challenges for Connecticut municipalities, which rely heavily on property taxes to fund local government. Many towns receive over 90% of their revenue from property tax; yet between 2008 and 2016, only 8 of the 169 municipalities experienced an increase in their real (inflation-adjusted) net grand list—which means the vast majority of Connecticut’s towns have experienced an erosion of purchasing power over the last several years. At the same time, budget issues at the state level have resulted in declining aid to municipalities, and other trends such as demographic shifts and regional economic conditions may impact local fiscal performance over the longer term.

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Will Rising Interest Rates Drive Down Commercial Real Estate Prices in Connecticut?

In their March meeting, the Federal Reserve Bank voted to raise the target federal funds rate to 1.5-1.75%, with rates expected to climb to 2.9% by 2019 and 3.4% by 2020.1

All else being equal, an increase in interest rates could lead to a decrease in commercial property values. As interest rates climb, the return on alternate types of investments may increase, making real estate comparably less attractive and driving prices down. Additionally, since most real estate assets are financed, a rise in interest rates would increase the investor’s borrowing costs, driving investors to seek either an increase in operating income2 from the property or a decrease in the market value of the asset.

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How Much Does All This "Stuff" Really Cost Us?

Stuff

‘Tis the season—for love, for sharing, and in some cases, for accumulating more “stuff.” As a mom of two young children, this accumulation seems to have grown in recent years. As boxes arrive in the mail, our once-spacious living room starts to feel tight as open space is gradually filled with books, stuffed animals, and monster trucks. While my husband wonders aloud if it’s time for a bigger house, the economist in me wondered how much all of this “stuff” really costs us.

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