LETTER: Kasser Must Clarify Her Stand on Proposed Mansion Tax and SB 1024

Open Letter to Senator Alex Kasser from Julia Chiappetta

Dear Senator Kasser,

There are some very disturbing pieces of legislation being presented by your Democratic caucus in Hartford, of which you have not yet commented publicly.

First, there is legislation that will raise taxes on middle class home owners with properties valued at $430,000 and over. Most of these homeowners are not wealthy and still paying mortgages on their biggest asset.  I wonder, do you support this tax? If so, what is the plan in Hartford with regard to using this revenue?

Second, is my concern over SB 1024, the legislation being promoted with the aim of allowing Hartford to centralize zoning rules for 169 of CT’s unique cities and towns. Hasn’t Hartford done enough damage over the years and at present by neglecting residents and allowing this once prosperous city to crumble in ruin.  What could benefit anyone in CT, if we allow Hartford Democrats to rewrite local zoning rules, thus affording carte blanche for developers to build what they want whilst flooding markets with an oversupply of housing resulting in the devaluation of existing properties. I wonder, if you agree with this legislative proposal?

Additionally, yesterday New Haven’s Democratic Mayor Justin Elicker accused Greenwich of engaging in racist zoning practices and cited, at a public hearing that Greenwich is intent on “keeping black and brown people” from moving here. This could not be further from the truth.  With all due respect to Mayor Elicker, he has no clue about our town. However, I do.  I was born in Greenwich Hospital and grew up here. My family lived off the land, we had gardens to feed us and respect for every family of every color, background and financial status.  

He is wrong. There has always been a “can do” attitude for those of us who are from Greenwich to provide housing and social services for those in our community who need them.  Yet, he made those accusations without any first-hand knowledge; merely to grand stand. Today, Greenwich has around a 26% non-white population, which is higher than the CT average. You live here, and have visited our neighborhoods. Surely you must disagree with your colleague Mayor Elicker, having served here for several years.

You are our elected representative in the State Senate and yet you did not testify against either piece of legislation in public hearings. We, your constituents need to hear where you stand on these legislative proposals. Proposals, in my opinion, that would negatively impact many towns including Greenwich.

Of our delegation, only Republican Representatives (Arora and Fiorello) have come out strongly against these policy proposals and Mr. Elicker’s despicable words. My hope is that you will join them for a unified front.

On a personal note, when we worked together to bring education on local environmental issues, I experienced your passion and caring for our community first hand, making it hard for me to believe that those same convictions would not apply here.  

Thank you for reading my words.  I remain positive, as we all wait on your reply.    

Julia Chiappetta