Submitted by Patricia Defelice, Natalie Adee, Jane Sprung, William Kalna, Andy Duus, Kimberly Salib, Dan Quigley, Wendy Walasek, Bill Lewis, Lile Gibbons, Peter Crumbine, Jim Clifford and Carol Ducret
Recently, Democrat State Senate President Martin Looney proposed a new, annual tax on homes whose market value is over $430,000 ($300k for assessed value). Mr. Looney has said he is “fine” with his tax proposal being called a “Mansion Tax”. His plan would potentially raise upwards of $73 million for the State, and specifically $43 million for New Haven, the district represented by guess who? Mr. Looney.
Mr. Looney insists that this is not a tax increase, but rather “property tax reform”. This is doublespeak for rebranding a tax increase as something more palatable. There are major flaws in what Mr Looney has proposed. Despite this, many of his fellow Democrats support it.
Mr. Looney has stated that the main purpose of the new tax is to reimburse cities for the money they lose each year on “state-mandated property tax exemptions for nonprofits and on under-compensated special-education costs”. Considering state Democrats’ awful track record managing the use of taxpayer dollars, does anyone trust them to re-invest this tax revenue properly?
Mr. Looney has said he is okay with this new tax being labeled a “Mansion Tax”. What exactly does that mean? We did some research focusing on some downtown Greenwich real estate. We were curious as what qualified as a “mansion” in Greenwich, in lieu of Mr Looney’s $430,000 red-line. What we discovered was eye opening.
Using websites like realtor.com and zillow.com, we examined recent sale prices for apartments downtown, specifically focusing on properties at 25 West Elm St, 40 West Elm St, Lafayette Place and Lafayette Court. These are the primary pre-war, classic Greenwich apartment buildings downtown. Almost every recent sale was on record for a price above Mr Looney’s $430,000 definition of a mansion. Some of these units were studio apartments, some were one and two bedroom units. Most of them were under 1,000 square feet. Hardly mansions. If you want to find a stand alone house in Greenwich for less than $430,000 it’s a challenge.
Yet it strikes us that these are the people Mr. Looney and State Democrats are targeting as being “wealthy” and living the life of luxury in “mansions”. The fact is, most of them are hardworking, have a mortgage and their biggest financial asset is likely their home. Democrats are targeting our middle class. Squeezing them during a time of great economic uncertainty is misguided.
This is another attempt by state Democrats to further perpetuate the welfare state. This has contributed to the systematic degradation of our urban centers. Our cities need investment and incentives that attract businesses and job opportunities. We need a system that encourages people to work, earn a living and participate in the economy. We need a system that rewards accomplishment. This is the land of opportunity. By virtue of their ill-advised economic policies, state Democrats are doing nothing to foster that spirit.
Democrats continue to pursue negative incentives for cities. The people who live in our struggling cities need hope. They need positive incentives, not endless pandering from political elites who’s policies, though well intended, keep them down.
It is no secret that CT Democrats have earned poor marks as fiscal stewards. Their progressive tax policies have driven away residents to other states and made any sustainable recovery for our economy a harder task. If implemented, this tax will surely be increased over time. It will never go away. We urge you to make your voice heard. Write your local, elected officials. Otherwise, you’ll be at the whim of state Democrats and Mr. Looney.