GOLDRICK: If you love tax increases, thank a Republican

Sean Goldrick served two terms as a Democratic member of the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation

In his Facebook comment on Greenwich Free Press Facebook page, Greenwich RTC chairman Dan Quigley asserted, “Keep trusting the Democrats to manage tax dollars and they will continue to flush your hard earned dollars down the drain.”  

In fact, if you love tax increases, thank a Republican.  Here are the facts Dan Quigley doesn’t want you to know.

The 2017 Republican tax bill (“The Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act”) included a massive federal tax increase on Connecticut taxpayers and homeowners in the form of a cap on state and local tax deductions (“SALT”).  In fact, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the SALT cap hit Connecticut with the biggest per capita tax increase in the country. 

Worse, according to a report by the Government Finance Officers Association, residents of Connecticut’s 4th congressional district, encompassing most of Fairfield County, were hit with the seventh highest tax increase from the SALT cap of all the country’s 435 congressional districts.  In total, the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Research concluded that the SALT cap raised federal taxes on Connecticut homeowners by $10.3 billion in 2019.

To put that in perspective, Connecticut’s entire annual budget for FY2021 is $20.9 billion.  So the tax increase passed by Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the GOP, is equivalent to nearly half of Connecticut’s entire state budget.  But GOP chair Dan Quigley claims that Democrats are “flushing your hard earned dollars down the drain”?

Let’s keep going.  During their 16 years in office, Republican governors John Rowland and Jodi Rell increased state spending at an annual rate of nearly 4.5%.  By contrast, during the ten years under Democratic governors Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, the state’s spending increased at an annualized rate of just 1.2%. 

When Jodi Rell left office, she and Rowland had failed to fully fund the annual contribution to the teachers and state employees pension funds in 14 of their 16 years in office. 

Democratic governors Malloy and Lamont have fully funded the pension funds every year in office, reformed the pensions, and put them on a sustainable basis. 

According to the outside actuary CavMac, Governor Malloy created savings from reforms and give-backs from the public sector unions that over the next twenty years will total $20 billion, while reducing the state’s workforce back to the level of the mid-1970’s.  Indeed, under Democratic governors Malloy and Lamont, employment in Connecticut’s government sector has contracted to the lowest level in 22 years. 

According to USA Today, Connecticut ranks as the 10th leanest state in terms of government staffing of all 50 states.

Here’s something else GOP chair Quigley doesn’t want you to know.  Back in May, Congressional Democrats, with Congressman Jim Himes’ support, passed an emergency federal assistance bill, “The HEROES Act,” which included badly needed assistance for state and local governments hard hit by the Covid-19 economic downturn. 

That bill provides $7 billion for our state government over the next two years, $59 million for Greenwich, $70 million for Stamford, and $10 million for New Canaan. 

But Mitch McConnell refuses to even bring the HEROES Act up for a vote.  McConnell and the GOP have instead let the unemployment benefit of $600 per week die, subjecting Connecticut workers who’ve lost their jobs during this Covid crisis to even greater hardship.

GOP chair Quigley is resorting to the Republican Party’s go-to tactic- misleading the voters.  Far from Democrats “flushing your hard earned dollars down the drain,” the truth is that it’s Democrats who have done a vastly better job of controlling spending, cutting government staffing, reforming pensions, and supporting local government, than the incompetent and criminal Republican governors who preceded them.  It’s Congressional Democrats who’ve acted to support Connecticut workers in this difficult time, while Republicans eliminate unemployment benefits for Connecticut workers, slam Connecticut taxpayers with a massive $10 billion tax increase, and hit Fairfield County homeowners with one of the biggest tax increases of any congressional district in the country.

Quigley won’t tell you that.  His GOP candidates – Arora, Kelly, Fiorello, and Fazio – won’t even tell you if they’re voting for Trump in November. 

They won’t tell you if they approve of Trump’s sabotage of the United States Postal Service, an act specifically intended to block Connecticut citizens from having their votes count in November.  They won’t tell you if they support Roe v Wade, or whether, should Republican Supreme Court judges overturn Roe, they will try to pass legislation in the General Assembly to outlaw abortion in Connecticut.  They won’t tell you if they supported the GOP’s blocking of Justice Andrew McDonald’s nomination to be chief justice of Connecticut’s Supreme Court for no reason other than that he’s openly gay.  

When candidates for public office won’t tell you the truth, when they hide from the truth, when they misrepresent the truth, as are these Republicans and their chairman, they don’t deserve your vote.