Greenwich Delegation: Connecticut’s Days of Prominence Have Been Followed by Decades of Decline. Why?

Submitted by The Greenwich Delegation Rep. Livvy Floren, Rep. Mike Bocchino, Rep. Fred Camillo and Senator Scott Frantz, Friday, March 3, 2017

Consider that Connecticut – sited between the financial powerhouses of New York and Boston – was once an economic leader, but, sadly, our days of prominence have been followed by decades of decline. Why?

Consider that Connecticut is still a leader in several categories, but mostly the kind one tries to avoid. Residents and business entities are being taxed out of existence—gift tax, occupational tax, gross receipts tax, alternative minimum tax, a tax on Social Security benefits, and an estate tax, just to name a few.

According to a recent Yankee Institute study, of Connecticut’s 360 revenue sources, the bottom 200 brings in only $29.6 million dollars. Governor Malloy’s two-year, $40.6 billion budget proposal is swarming with nuisance levies where the negative impact on the state supersedes any financial benefit.

Consider that Connecticut has an estate tax with a very low threshold of $2 million dollars. It is difficult to retire comfortably when residents are taxed beyond their working years. With a high cost of living and soaring healthcare rates, senior citizens suffer disproportionately from our taxes. If that weren’t bad enough, the estate tax has drawn even more scorn. The adage “You cannot afford to die in Connecticut” has become an accepted truth.

Consider that Connecticut has an estate tax with a very low threshold of $2 million dollars.

The Federal threshold is currently $5.45 million dollars and is slated to go up to just under $6 million later this year. Even New Jersey is phasing out their estate tax (2018).

It is no surprise that accountants have been telling clients for years that Connecticut is not only a bad place in which to retire, but also a bad place in which to die.

The statistics showing Connecticut at the wrong end of the spectrum when it comes to out migration should be a clarion call to all that we must reverse course now and stop repeating mistakes with the same old “tax-and-spend” philosophy that brought us to this situation in the first place.

Consider that Connecticut, despite our efforts to thwart wasteful spending and tax hikes, is still indebted to our own pension fund. We create new revenue sources to stop the bleeding, but get sidetracked by new spending opportunities – a cycle that requires immediate intervention.

We have heard your voices and understand that no matter how hard you work, you are still bombarded by rising costs and rising taxes, and you are finding it difficult to keep up.

The Greenwich Delegation has considered these concerns and has introduced H.B. 5631, An Act Increasing the Threshold for Imposition of the Estate Tax, which would bring Connecticut’s estate tax threshold in line with the Federal level. Perhaps this will also lead to a reduction in the income tax down the road, which could be offset be revisiting our pension crisis and finding ways to reduce the state’s financial obligation in the future.

Now, Consider that Connecticut, a state once championed for its prestigious public schools, international companies and high standard of living now finds itself being abandoned by employers, ignored by college graduates and reconsidered by lifelong residents. When will the last of our businesses uproot for tax-friendly alternatives? What will become of our home when the aging population that remains can no longer afford to live here? Who will be left to turn the state around? And, at that point, who will be left to care?

Consider that, Connecticut… and consider that we can do something about it, but it must be done soon. This is our Connecticut moment.

  • Jodi Weisz

    With the booming stock market, why isn’t Connecticut’s Teacher Pension in the black or, really, why isn’t it on track to be fully funded?
    Is the State Pension system invested in a low cost index fund? If not, than *this* needs to be addressed immediately. Warren Buffet stated it best about this issue: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-berkshire-hatha-buffett-indexfunds-idUSKBN1640F1.
    If the State of Connecticut is not investing in low cost index funds, if its pension board members are not value investors then it is the tax payers who are unfairly paying for this underperformance.

    Please publish a chart of the Teachers’ pension fund performance. This needs to be made public record.
    Also, please post information on the amount that the firm or firms in question have made.

    Even CHETs, Connnecticut’s College Education Savings program charges unfair fees, gives the investor no to little choice, wiping out any tax advantage to the families that sign up for it.
    It is time for Connecticut to embrace innovation in public education.
    Parochial schools educate their students for 5,000K a year, with an expected volunteer or talent contribution from parents and grandparents.
    Connecticut will turn around when we realize we need to embrace a new model for education and give Seniors a real estate tax freeze if they stay rather than flee to North Carolina or Florida…and also we need to repel State taxes on their pensions and Social Security.
    The root of our pain is a bloated municipally funded public education system that is unsustainable and literally driving seniors and young families away.
    The other main issue is a ill-equipped and aged transportation system.
    We need a state of the art transportation center and a transportation/rail system that is the envy of the North East.
    I know this is all difficult to hear. But, to be competitive and desirable again, CT will need to take President Trump’s lead and embrace school choice.

    • peterfalexander

      WELL SAID!

  • peterfalexander

    Blame the SUETHEMALL mindset.
    We can’t even keep our boats in the water in Greenwich in Winter because?
    Someone “might slip & fall” & sue Town.
    We set the standards for beagle barks ruling.
    Can we skate in Parks?
    Can we sled in parks?
    Global warming the cause?
    No, lawyer thousands of dollars suits paid for by us.
    When was the last time a property owner appeared before our P&Z?
    Of each thousand P&Z applications how many are parasite lawyers?
    Add in PE brain sellouts & Specatects our Town & State population is victimized by lack of ethics & collapse of sense of place and purpose.
    We have the chance as a Town to lead again.
    Our Delegation has a hard time being taken seriously after only a cursory check of out of our in house “status”.
    Time for a Greenwich Town Conservancy Party?
    Or will we just be another failing CT city?
    Put the lawyers back in cheap suits so they live without our taxpayer by “design” money flasher ones.

  • LadyLibertyUSA

    Answer: Tax and spend democrats. Corporations originally flocked to Stamford so that corporate execs could benefit from low taxes…. That was the 1980s ….