Melillo: Proposals to Keep Taxes High and Ignore Connecticut’s Economy are Dangerous

Letter to the editor submitted by Andrew Melillo, Aug 21, 2018

Good heavens, enough already. A recent editorial arguing to keep Connecticut taxes high alongside the notion that the current state of affairs in Connecticut is from recent mismanagement is what’s horrific.

Recent mismanagement? What this state actually suffers from is elected officials’ and entrenched bureaucrats’ deep seated arrogance and perhaps even continual orchestrated negligence – or in other words, the extremely efficient carrying out of inefficient government policies.

The recent editorial’s argument is based on a case in Kansas where tax cuts were enacted, resulting in Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s downgrading the state’s debt. The downgrade was due to loss in state revenue to finance the accumulated debt of the state. Any good person who knows respect, knows a debt should always be honored and paid back.

The mistake Kansas made was not that it cut taxes, but that it cut them at the wrong time. Connecticut’s income tax should be abolished, but only when it is responsible to do so.

So do not eliminate it then? No, the responsible practice would be to gradually reduce it until the state can finance its budgets without it – yet our state relies on nearly fifty percent of its revenue from this tax.

Many will argue: if the state income tax is abolished, from where will the additional revenue come? This argument implies that either (1) a person has not seriously looked into how Connecticut spends its money, or; (2) dangerously believes that Connecticut’s past and present spending practices, are sound.

It is time that citizens of both political parties start demanding that our entrusted elected officials finally spend the public’s money responsibly – and that includes tightened or more efficient spending practices.

Could what happened in Kansas, happen here? Perhaps so. Should we consider the argument that Nutmeggers must continue to be over-taxed and yet taxed even further possibly in future because the state’s public officials have, whether through extreme ignorance or negligence, or a mixture of both, misused and abused the public’s purse? No. Not at all. Never accept that.

No hardworking citizen of this state, regardless of party affiliation, wants to pay more in taxes; and to be blunt – the unbalanced, one party rule of Connecticut state government over the decades has helped create this nightmare fiscal scenario.

One who argues that the state is in sound financial condition or that certain ideological and social policies did not help cause the financial mess are either severely uninformed about the reality of the situation or their intentions are immoral or extremely questionable at best.

As indicated by the 2017 Moody’s Investor Services’ State Debt Medians Report, the State of Connecticut has the highest net tax-supported debt per capita of any state in the Union. And the problems in Kansas are not Connecticut’s problem. Kansas, which is nearly equal in population with only half a million fewer people, has lower unemployment than Connecticut. It also has fewer people on food stamps and has an economic infrastructure very different from Connecticut’s. And even with the Kansas tax cuts being repealed in May of this year, coupled with their slower than anticipated economic growth, that state’s debt is rated AA- which fares better than Connecticut’s which around the same time this year was downgraded from A+ to A. So any person seeking public office in this state should mind the very serious problems facing Connecticut.

Remember, the state income tax was passed in the early 1990’s and was promised to be “spent responsibly” and that it would be “temporary.” This has been proven false and over twenty-five years later businesses are leaving the state, nearly thirteen billion dollars in personal wealth has relocated, budget deficits are growing larger, taxes continue to increase to record levels, spending knows no limits, there has been no net job growth, prices are increasingly unaffordable and the public’s trust has been abused. The income tax should be abolished, alongside the insane reality of electing people with the same platform and policies that create this mess year after year, and expecting different and better results. Good heavens, enough already.

See also:

Kostin: Stefanowski’s Promise to Abolish CT Income Tax is Dangerous