Now comes the latest and perhaps most painful blow: Aetna, the insurance giant, announced last month that it was planning to move its headquarters out of the city it has called home since it was founded more than 150 years ago.
It’s a cultural loss.” Hartford was once so intertwined with insurance that even Mark Twain, its most famous resident, not only celebrated the city’s lifeblood, but also was a director of the Hartford Accident Insurance Company.
Aetna’s history is deeply linked with the state: Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, a son of Aetna’s founder, served several terms as Hartford’s mayor before he was elected governor of Connecticut.
The city’s median household income is $30,000, less than half the state’s, and many of its neighborhoods are plagued by poverty, drugs and gun violence.
The mayor, Luke Bronin, has cut the city’s payroll and negotiated additional savings with labor unions since he took office last year, but he said that “there is a limit to how much you can tax an overtaxed city and how much you can cut an underserved city.” Moody’s downgraded Hartford’s credit rating to junk status last fall, and said it was considering another reduction.