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Fix Connecticut’s unfair and regressive tax system

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The year of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a strange one for our body politic. We all went into lockdown and social distancing as lots of people in the service sector got laid off. Meanwhile, Wall Street boomed, and Connecticut and the northeast enjoyed a real estate boom while essential workers struggled to stay safe. In the short term, our state built a one-year budget surplus built on an infusion from capital gains and the wealthy.

Going into our biennium budget, we face a looming $2.6 billion deficit as state and community services are under strain and few dollars to fix our transit mess. Community social services are underfunded by nearly $500 million dollars as there are big lines for food aid and COVID tests. Our State House is not in order as our great inequality crisis was exposed during the last year. Connecticut is the third highest state in inequality as well as being a wealthy state. According to a recent report by Connecticut Voices for Children, the top 1 percent of state residents makes 40 times in pre-tax income as the average household. Yet, working class families pays an effective tax rate three times of the richest 1 percent.

It is time our State legislators fix our unfair regressive tax system. We simply have to look to New Jersey which recently raised the top rate on millionaires and raised the surtax on the biggest corporations. Connecticut could fix the budget gap by raising the income tax rate on millionaires closer to tops rates in New York and New Jersey. We should also put a new surtax on capital gains and unearned income for people making over $500,000 a year. Moreover, the State legislature must provide tax relief for working families by expanding the current state Earned Income Tax Credit and creating a child tax credit.

The State budget is about a lot more than dollars and cents. It is a moral compass on our community and what our priorities are in easing suffering from the pandemic. We must start correcting our stark inequality in Connecticut, the land of steady habits. It’s time to rebalance the scales of inequality and racism. State Democrats have a strong majority in Hartford and should not be afraid to push an agenda of progressive taxation. It should provide the resources we need for our state and push our state back in the direction of justice and the beloved community as Martin Luther King taught us. It is time for the General Assembly and Gov. Ned Lamont to stake a stand.

Robert Nixon

6 comments

Sue Haynie February 15, 2021 at 6:16 am

Who, in their right mind, looks to New Jersey for good ideas on the economy? Per the author: “It is time our State legislators fix our unfair regressive tax system. We simply have to look to New Jersey…”

David Muccigrosso February 15, 2021 at 10:49 am

Regressive taxes aren’t inherently evil, as long as they fund broad benefits.

I’d prefer politicians who are able to look at budgeting and spending holistically rather than dogmatically.

Nora King February 15, 2021 at 12:23 pm

The middle class in this state is being taxed to death. Health insurance is way too costly, schools in Norwalk need to up their game for the middle class and we are over building with apartments that pay very low taxes. Norwalk is on the wrong path, but to keep raising the taxes is not the answer. Norwalk needs to partner with large businesses to bring their business here and partner with them on schools, roads etc. Our mayor seems to only focus on apartment developers and not the big picture.

DryAsABone February 15, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Another Looney idea that might have some traction…three tiered PILOT and you know who will bear the brunt of this? The usual folks who basically fund the entire state.
Hartford can only redistribute wealth so much and then the wealth will leave. Locally, the pols can tax property as the land does not leave,but the income taxes? Very much like the regressive propety tax on autos… cars and trading accounts leave for friendlier places.
Most everyone I know who have left this state go to places that have taxes but the difference is that most states spend wisely and with less corruption that Corrupticut. And the state labor forces in many states are actual public servants.
COVID is a lame excuse for mismanagement and dishonesty.

John Miller February 16, 2021 at 10:41 pm

Congratulations, Me. Nixon. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Chairman Mao and maybe even Pol Pot would have been proud of you for this piece. Hopefully, at least some of our fearless leaders in Hartford will eventually come to the realization that using the confiscation and redistribution of private property to govern, which is what confiscatory taxation is, does not and has never worked.

John D March 5, 2021 at 6:54 pm

We now have a tax on our paycheck to fund family leave. Why am I paying for other people to have family leave? We have a tax on our homeowners policy to fund the crumbling foundations in the northern part of the state. Has nothing to do with me. Connecticut, get your hands out of my pockets! Enough already.

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