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"At this point, we aren't looking at any tax increases." That’s how the President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut State Senate described majority Democrats’ outlook on the state’s finances in a television interview this month.
“At this point”? What exactly does that mean? That’s the type of uncertain statement that makes taxpayers and potential job creators cringe. We have all seen this Connecticut Tax Hike Movie before, and it doesn’t have a happy ending. If that happens, the question now becomes: Will they hike the income tax again? Will they continue to raise property taxes by lessening the property tax credit on the income tax? Perhaps businesses will see higher taxes? Or will they get “creative” and pursue new tax ideas?
We have already seen these ideas floated by Democrats in the past year. Among them: the Yale Tax (a tax on the unspent earnings of university endowments), the Mansion Tax (on high-end homes on top of your property tax), the Mileage Tax (a Big Brother-style, by-the-mile tax everywhere you travel) and the Voluntary Tax (on businesses to enable them to pay more taxes now in exchange for a contractually guaranteed tax break down the road). Have I missed any? If you have heard of other post-November potential tax hikes, please contact me at Toni.Boucher@cga.ct.gov .
The tax talk points directly to Connecticut’s addiction to spending your money. New and higher taxes, fees and revenue enhancements will continue to feed the majority’s spending habit and will continue to be the norm in our state until the current decision-makers are replaced. The comments I have seen and heard in recent weeks tell the story. For example:
- “I lived my entire life in Connecticut. I had to leave and find a state with a lower cost of living so I wouldn’t go broke. My house in Tennessee is nearly twice as large as my last house in Connecticut and I have 10 times the property for about one third of the taxes.”
- “I love Connecticut, and don’t want to leave. My partners feel the same. That said, we all have one foot out the door, and of course you and I know quite a few heavy taxpayers who have already left or are leaving Connecticut shortly.”
- “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
That last quote was not from a Connecticut resident, but it may sound familiar. Those wise words were from Winston Churchill, and they continue to ring true today here in Connecticut. Connecticut has trailed the rest of the United States in recovering jobs lost during the Great Recession, recovering just 79 percent of our jobs. People are frustrated at watching their state spiral downward, left behind as other states move ahead.
Republicans and I have proposed a detailed and widely acclaimed budget solution which includes no taxes, no tolls and which puts Connecticut back on a path to sustainability, predictability, transparency and growth.
“At this time”, our plan, which we call “A Pathway to Sustainability,” can be reviewed here .
Sen. Toni Boucher
(Boucher represents Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.