Although Wilton’s unemployment rate is 2.4%, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice does not think Wilton has recovered from the Great Recession.
“Our earnings [from IRS statistics for 2016] are not at the level they were in 2007,” she told The Bulletin last week. “So, logically, our home values have not returned to the level they were in 2007.
“My general sense is 10 years later there’s more two-income families than there were before, so I don’t foresee this town ever going back to where it was pre-2007. A lot of that was driven by the financial industry, which has never recovered, but that’s the reality that we live in.”
One area of concern for Vanderslice is the effect of President Trump’s tax cuts.
“The average property tax in Wilton is greater than what you can deduct,” and many people likely will find the tax cut is costing them money.
“It was done to try to create pressure to get municipal governments and state governments to reduce their taxes and that’s exactly what may happen. … People can turn down the budget.”
The Board of Selectmen tried to get ahead of this issue last year when it presented Wilton Library with a challenge grant of raising $25,000 the town would match rather than granting the library the $50,000 budget increase it requested.
“It is cheaper for this town if you donate the money to the library because you can get a deduction on that. If you’re going to pay your taxes and we’re going to turn around and give it to the library, there may not be any tax deduction at all so the after-tax cost is greater for the taxpayers.
“Any nonprofit we’re giving a grant to, it is more efficient and cheaper for people to make those contributions directly.”