State Property Worth $23.2 Billion

October 10, 2012

As State Senator, I have focused on legislation to improve the business climate and solve concerns over the budget deficit, unfunded liabilities and the growing debt. While much remains to be done, it is always useful to understand every aspect of the budget and more. In fact, the state compiles an annual report of everything it owns, and I thought that this would be an interesting topic to discuss this week.

We all own property, whether it is a house or a car or a computer. Each of these items is worth a certain amount, often losing value over time. Each year, the Office of the State Comptroller compiles the “Annual Inventory Report of all Real and Personal Property” listing everything the state owns by state agency. Last week, investigative reporter Zach Janowski with the Raising Hale media project made the 2011 report public and answered the following question: How much property does the State of Connecticut own?

According to the 2011 report, the total amount of state property is worth a staggering $23.2 billion. What exactly do these properties include? Connecticut taxpayers own infrastructure, land, buildings, fine art and vehicles.

Believe it or not, almost half of the total amount of state property is infrastructure. Valued at nearly $11 billion, this includes many of the roads and bridges that we drive on everyday. From major highways such as I-84 to Route 44 that cuts through our district, these structures include those that are managed and maintained by the state Department of Transportation. Planning, building and maintaining these roads and bridges is an expensive task, so these structures are more valuable than one might believe.

Our state also owns a lot of land, most of which is overseen by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, such as state parks or other properties. In total, the state owns over 250,000 acres of land, or about 7 percent of the total land area in our state. The value of this land is worth $664 million. Also on state land is about $1 billion in site improvements, such as drainage, sewerage, fencing and other structures.

The state also owns 3,665 buildings worth about $7.2 billion. In terms of value, the University of Connecticut owns more than a quarter of the state’s buildings. According to their website, the UConn system includes “a main campus in Storrs and five regional campuses throughout the state, Schools of Law and Social Work in Greater Hartford, a Graduate Business Learning Center in downtown Hartford, and Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine at the UConn Health Center in Farmington.” Other buildings include public safety, transportation and other facilities located around the state.

Stop by the State Capitol or another landmark and you will likely see some beautiful artwork. Our state owns about $100 million worth of fine art. Most of these pieces of artwork are owned by the state’s universities. For example, over half is owned by UConn and $14 million worth is owned by Housatonic Community College alone. About $15 million worth of fine art is owned by the state legislature. Last year, you may remember that I wrote a story about an interesting painting of a former Lieutenant Governor that is currently hanging in our caucus room at the Capitol building.

Some state employees require vehicles to get them from place to place, whether as the Governor or as part of the Department of Children and Families. This means the state needs vehicles for commuting or transporting people and goods. Connecticut owns over 6,100 trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles and over 4,200 cars.

As taxpayers, we all have an interest in understanding what the state owns. From land to buildings to vehicles, our tax dollars help maintain and operate these state properties. This year, reports from each of the state agencies were due to the Comptroller’s office on Monday, October 1st. While the final report will not be finalized for some time, it is always interesting to comprehend what our tax dollars are used for. If you would like to learn more about how much property the state owns, please visit the Raising Hale website at or look for this year’s report on the Office of the State Comptroller website at