Ken Dixon over at the Connecticut Post has an alarming story about just what Hartford legislators are up to in the finance committee, raising taxes:
Connecticut teachers and state employee unions on Monday asked the legislative Finance Committee to approve a new progressive income-tax structure that makes the wealthy pay more.
And first-year Rep. Auden Grogins, D-Bridgeport, said the city needs a new law that would allow it to establish a local 1 percent tax on meals, alcoholic beverages and hotel occupancy.
Apparently Groggins never heard of the send 1% back from the current sales tax, championed by State Senator Bob Duff and State Rep. Chris Perone. But it gets worse.
Rep. Cameron C. Staples, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the committee, said that since the state’s $1.4 billion emergency reserves have been created by capital gains taxes in recent years when Wall Street workers were making a lot of money, it has created the proper cushion that was envisioned for it.
“Were we to project double-digit growth in our revenues and reliance on the capital gains receipts every year, we would be in much bigger trouble than we’re in,” Staples said. “This is a unique downturn, I think, now, but typically we’ve got surpluses accumulating in good times by virtue of that in our rainy day fund and we have that available to us now.”
Do you see where’s Staples is heading? Sure is looking at that tax easy button doesn’t it? Then we have municipal unions weighing in.
Brian Anderson, lobbyist for AFSCME Council 4, which has 35,000 members in the public and private sector, said the income tax has to be raised on the wealthy because they have gotten “massive” tax cuts in recent years, even during the recent war years.
“Gov. Rell’s continued assertion that any tax increase on the wealthy will hurt the state’s economy makes no sense, particularly at a time when she’s demanded that state employees should give back wages,” Anderson said. “Most of the state employees represented by the Council earn between $21,000 and $60,000 a year. They spend their paychecks on Main Street.”
Well okay fine, but its not state taxes and property taxes that have gotten cut now isn’t it? And if we really take a look at federal taxes, it’s not like Connecticut gets any money back anyways. Connecticut is a donor state. We pay federal taxes that go on to fund sprawl in Arizona, or Alaska, or Wyoming to name a few. We get sixty-nine cents back for every dollar sent to the feds, and oh by the way, Connecticut sends the most income taxes to the feds. We rank #1.
Grogins told the committee that her constituents pay some of the highest property taxes in the state and it was a “critical reason” she decided to run for the House.
Perhaps the endemic financial mismanagement of successive local Bridgeport government might have something to do with that outrageous property tax mill rate Bridgeport pays. But Groggins doesn’t grasp basic math, because despite the low mill rates, residents of New Canaan and Greenwich still manage to pay higher property taxes. In Greenwich, the median price for a home was 1.9 million in 2007. That means that half the homes in Greenwich are priced more and half priced less than 1.9 million. With the mill rate that means 14,749 in taxes on that median Greenwich home. Bridgeport has amedian home price of 230,000 and that means $9,724 in taxes. Ouch, but not the highest.
“I was taken aback by the astronomical number of people being forced to sell their homes or even losing their homes because they could not afford to continue to pay Bridgeport’s significantly higher property taxes,” she said, adding that allowing the city to levy 1 percent sales taxes on meals, drinks and hotel occupancy, can indirectly help homeowners.
“But frankly, we need to do much more to address the problem of overburdened taxpayers across the state and give them much needed tax relief,” she said.
She asked lawmakers to consider adding provisions to exempt a portion of homeowners’ assessments from property taxes; to put limits on tax increases; and allow “circuit breaker” programs for elderly and disabled homeowners.
Has Groggins considered asking Hartford to spend less money? Just a thought.
source: The Connecticut Post, Teachers, unions want rich to pay more taxes, By Ken Dixon, 03/02/2009