GOP Viewpoint: What Connecticut taxes need

I recently attended a Chamber of Commerce event where noted economist Don Klepper-Smith said Connecticut state government must make profound structural changes to spending and regulations to avoid a fiscal catastrophe. He presented compelling evidence to support the need for change, including:

  • Connecticut is last among New England states in job recovery and has only recovered 74% of the jobs lost from the 2008 recession.

  • Approximately 575 people are leaving Connecticut each week.

  • While the national economy is growing at a rate of 2% to 3%, our state is only seeing 1.1% economic growth.

  • Connecticut has the second highest state and local tax burden, with an average of $7,000 per person.

  • Major employers like GE are in the process of leaving the state

Klepper-Smith said that, economically, Connecticut has made tenuous gains, at best, since the recession in 2008. He added that another recession would be devastating.

While I am referencing statements Klepper-Smith recently made, he isn’t alone in warning us about these dangers our state faces. A host of economists, rating agencies, and financial institutions have been warning Connecticut for a long time that the state must change its spendthrift ways. We need to cut taxes and regulations and make it more affordable for businesses and residents to stay in our beautiful state.

The taxpayers of Connecticut recognize the need for a change in the way the state conducts business. I believe that is why we have an 18-18 Republican-Democrat tie in the state Senate and why Democrats hold the slimmest of majorities in the House. Their actions have sent a loud and clear message to Hartford that they are taxed too much.

Somehow, my Democrat colleagues still have not heard the message. On April 25, the Finance Revenue & Bonding Committee will hear public testimony on SB 1054, An Act Concerning Various Tax Rates, The Use Of Certain Taxes And Fees For Tourism And Other Programs, Establishing The Mental Health Community Investment Account And Concerning The Purpose Of The Capital Region Development Authority.

What this bill’s long title doesn’t tell you is that it contains language to institute a so-called “millionaire’s tax” that Democrats have been pushing for years. A new income tax rate of 7.49% would be levied on single filers earning $500,000, heads of household earning $800,000, and joint filers earning $1 million, and it would be retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.

This follows the same old logic espoused by Democrats and union leaders that wealthy state residents aren’t paying their fair share. It ignores the fact that these are the very people with the resources to leave Connecticut anytime they choose. And since a number of these high earners also are job providers, their absence would continue to put downward pressure on the state’s employment numbers.

Proposals like this continue our state on the path of revenue seeking that has not resolved the state’s fiscal problems. It also flies in the face of the very warnings financial experts have been shouting at us. Measures like this will have a negative impact on our bond ratings and projected fiscal outlook. It will also deter businesses and people from settling here, further hindering economic recovery.

Connecticut’s wealthy are not an endless well the state can continue to tap.

The Ridgefield Republican Town Committee meets monthly on the third Thursday in the large conference room of Ridgefield Town Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend, listen and participate with their comments. Go to our website: