Spilo: Connecticut’s Lost Decade and Our Missing Jobs

Letter to the editor from Michael Spilo, RTM District 11

There is a perception among some, mainly in lower Fairfield County, that all is good in the state of Connecticut.  The truth is very different.

Connecticut has never recovered from the 2009 recession.

In Connecticut the “recovery” amounted to 30,000 fewer jobs 10 years later, as seen in the following charts from the online Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED, links at the end)1 :

In the same time frame, NY created 1 million additional jobs2 (compared to the pre-recession high) and MA created 400,0003:

Perhaps, if you are employed in the Public Sector, with a salary that goes up like clockwork every year, or if you work in NY or Boston, you might have the mistaken impression that things are great.  Based on what you see around you at work, you might imagine that the 2009 Recession is behind us and things are booming.

But, for the middle class in Connecticut, the recession never ended. Connecticut’s Real GDP never recovered (-3%), while Massachusetts and New York have seen 23% and 18% gains.4

According to Federal Reserve data, Connecticut is 50th of the 50 states in terms of jobs recovery and one of only 2 states (WY is the other) which have fewer people working than before the 2009 recession.

To Reiterate: these new jobs in NY, MA, and RI, NJ, VT, NH and PA, are not from the post-recession low.  All our neighboring states have managed to create new jobs above the pre-recession high!

Think about that for a moment. Forget the West Coast and its booming tech sector. Even states like Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, states which used to envy Connecticut for our good jobs in insurance, pharmaceuticals, electronics and banking, even those states have created more jobs than they had in 2008.

Don’t imagine this is a “banking” issue either.  It’s not just the 2,000 UBS and RBS jobs which are gone. This involves nearly every sector, including insurance, manufacturing, pharma and Tech.5

A Gallup poll found, people are leaving Connecticut in search of lower taxes, but they’re also leaving in search of jobs.

How have our elected officials responded?

Since 2008 Connecticut has raised income tax brackets by 40%.  Over the same period, Massachusetts has lowered their income tax, and New York hasn’t changed, except by adding a new top bracket for couples making over $2 million a year.6

Connecticut’s taxes used to be a magnet for people making over $100k a year.  No longer. At this point, for the middle class, NY state income tax is nearly identical to Connecticut; and Massachusetts taxes are lower for anyone making over $120,000 a year; and state-wide average real estate taxes are lower in both New York and Massachusetts.7

The Census Bureau reports millennials are leaving cities,8 but they’re staying away from Connecticut, not because our schools are bad, but because, Connecticut has no jobs to offer and our tax rates are no longer attractive.

Have Connecticut’s high taxes helped Connecticut’s poorest residents?  NO! In fact, there are more people in poverty in Connecticut than before the recession, while New York, Massachusetts, and the US overall have fewer people in poverty.

Are our roads better? Hardly.  We rank 46th in the nation.9

Unfortunately, propelled by irrational thinking in the Left Fringe, the Connecticut state house and governor have Connecticut caught in a downward spiral, raising taxes while chanting “infrastructure.” As if the missing Connecticut jobs are in construction, while Arrow, Alexion, GE and others take top paying jobs elsewhere.

Just look at this list of layoffs: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/progsupt/bussrvce/warnreports/warnreports.htm

Worse yet, our politicians reallocate those “infrastructure” dollars to social programs which haven’t reduced poverty, and to the massive pension shortfalls they created with years of mismanagement.  Then these politicians propose Tolls to make up the difference, still chanting “infrastructure.”

People are voting with their feet… by leaving and by not coming. So, tax revenues continue to decline.

This isn’t about the “1%,” either.  Gallup finds 46% (not 1%) would like to leave Connecticut within 5 years. And when 46% of executives of top corporations decide to leave, they take their corporations and thousands of jobs with them. How has Hartford responded? With an exit tax.

Now the very same Left Fringe group wants Greenwich to borrow and spend our way into the same financial difficulties facing the state, planning massive construction, as they try to distract us from the reality of negative home appreciation and 30,000 missing jobs with plastic straws and complaints about Trump’s tweets.

Residents are demanding “Lower Taxes!” “Jobs!” and “No Tolls!” We should vote for politicians who will listen and act in our best interest, and you won’t find them on the Left Fringe.

The Democrats have had 20+ years in Connecticut, and the result of their policies is a ruin: Fewer jobs, more poverty, and over $90 Billion in lost home value.  Let’s not allow this to spread to Greenwich.

  1. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CTNA
  2. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/NYNA
  3. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MANA
  4. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=p0pT
  5. https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/talking-points/2017/09/12/why-are-many-business-giants-leaving-connecticut/SmlxbJLLRjKUxpeyyl6SSI/story.html
  6. https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/state-individual-income-tax-rates-2000-2019
  7. http://www.tax-rates.org/taxtables/property-tax-by-state
  8. https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-suburbs-swell-again-as-a-new-generation-escapes-the-city-11561992889
  9. https://reason.org/policy-study/24th-annual-highway-report/

See also:

Spilo: Connecticut’s Lost Decade and Your Missing Home Value Sept 15, 2019