Former Danbury Mayor Spills on Legacy and TV, Protects State Tax Secrets
Mark Boughton is the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services.
He is also the former Mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, an I-95 Morning Show regular and a friend. We had an opportunity to catch up with Boughton in a recent interview and covered a lot of ground.
We challenged the Commissioner to share sensitive tax information, asked about his legacy, his friendship with Dean Esposito and learned he has strong feelings about Roman from the hit HBO series "Succession."
Like any good pal, I like to get my friends in trouble or at least make them squirm. The goal in this interview was to use Mark's gift of gab against him. I was going to ask questions I knew he couldn't answer and that was exactly where I started.
Who didn't pay there taxes? Give me some notables
"You really want to get me fired, don't you? Everybody pays, they all pay, it's all good."
Statistically, which city in Connecticut is the worst at paying their taxes?
"Interesting. Geographically? I'm not sure I have that handy but I'm sure... "
Don't tell me that!
"Let me finish, Connecticut residents are very diligent about filing their taxes. It doesn't mean they pay taxes, remember we give out a lot of refunds, a lot of people don't owe any money but they do file. We collected 1.7 million returns over the last filing season so they're pretty good about it."
You can't tell me that, it's not true. We can just look at radio and in private the three of us (Ethan, Lou & Dave), you could mention any town in the Greater-Danbury area and we can tell you a lot about their behavior. So you cannot tell me as the head tax man that you don't know!
"I'll give you one, you shut your filthy hole! I'll tell you something, Danbury. When I was Mayor, Danbury people didn't like it, they weren't always happy about it but they would always line up to pay their taxes."
Once I realized Boughton was going to play this straight, we moved on and I asked him to reflect a bit on his time as Mayor.
Looking back at your time as Mayor, what do you think your legacy will be?
"What was my legacy? We ran a very tight government, we basically downsized government. There are hundreds of positions less than when I took office and they still get the same job done or are doing even more work because we automated a lot of things. So, I think the reorganization of government really made a difference. It's not sexy, people don't even really realize it happens but it was reflected in 5 straight years of no tax increases between myself, Mayor Dean and Mayor Joe. That was really the penultimate end game of what I was trying to do. We were also the safest city in Connecticut, we ran surpluses every year in our budget and we had the lowest unemployment rate in the state. I was super proud of those metrics for Danbury."
Towards the end of your time in City Hall, did you have a love affair with the media?
"Ha. I always had friends in the media but I also realized that they had a job to do. So they were not going to give me a pass on stuff but there is always another story tomorrow so I was always nice to everybody. Did I have an infatuation? I did like doing, I wish I could do, even now a podcast. I loved doing that "Live at 5" during COVID."
Are you discouraged from doing media?
"Taxes are not necessarily a joking matter and I'm busy, don't forget I'm doing all the infrastructure developments in the state. Governor Lamont has me going all over the state."
Ethan shared a story of his most recent encounter with Boughton at the Hillside Food Outreach dance competition and asked Mark about his conversation with Mayor Esposito.
What were you and Dean talking about?
"We don't get to see each other that much so we were just talking and he was updating me on all of the good stuff that is happening in the city. Danbury is still a huge economic engine. The News Times just had a big report on all the building projects that are going on. It's a good thing, it's a great community, it was all good, it was more of a catchup thing."
Later he added:
"Remember, don't forget Dean was like my bodyguard. Did you ever see 3 o'clock high? It was that movie where they were going to have a fight after school? I was the runt that was being stuffed in the locker and Dean would come over, he was a big football player and he'd come over and say hey leave the guy alone. Because I had a really smart mouth, I was like Lou and it would get me in fights and in trouble."
Back when Boughton was the Mayor, he'd come on the I-95 Morning Show every week and update us on what was going on in Danbury, just like Mayor Esposito does now. The problem with those appearances were, we never learned about the Hat City because Boughton would filibuster with pop culture references and TV talk. These discussion are what I miss most about having Mark on the show so we could not finish this segment without hearing what the he thought about the hot shows right now.
Dave and I were just talking about how good Succession is...
"Succession is just great. Isn't it the best writing on TV right now? I mean, you have to watch it if you're not already. It's so good and I love Roman by the way. You have to listen very closely to Roman, right? Because he gets these little things and he's all over the place and you have to listen because he's funny as heck."
You said Roman is your favorite character. Which one of his depraved activities or comments do you most identify with?
"I think the relationship with Gerri is quite interesting, hahahaha."
Just before wrapping up, the former Mayor took a moment to do a shout out, saying:
"I have to give a public safety person a shout out. John Milligan from the New Canaan Police Department got promoted to Lieutenant yesterday so I just wanted to congratulate John."