Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Connecticut is Not Broke

The Connecticut budget crisis is not the fault of state workers. Nor is it the fault of runaway spending.

Pro-corporate talk show hosts and the right-wing Yankee Institute are campaigning against state workers and the Malloy administration. They want to break unions and keep the big loot for a few at the top. So it is no surprise they whipped up hysteria and urged state workers to vote against the agreement reached between the governor and state worker unions (SEBAC). Falsehoods about the agreement, scaring workers they would lose their health coverage and more, need to be straightened out.

The solution for the state budget shortfall is not to layoff state workers or cut payments to cities and towns or make more cuts to services. That will make the economic crisis worse.

The state budget shortfall is linked to the national economic crisis, worsened when the Republican Congress ended federal aid to states, and extended Bush-era tax cuts to the super rich.

Put these facts together: 1) Those with incomes over $1 million had the smallest tax increase in Connecticut's budget deal this year. 2) Those with incomes over $1 million got a 4.6% windfall from Congress.

The solution: instead of competing with other states in a race to the bottom, increase Connecticut's revenue with a tax on the multi-millionaires who can afford it.

An additional 4.6% tax on the portion of incomes over $1 million per year would bring an estimated $1.6 billion per year in new revenue -- enough to avoid any cuts in the state work force or services, and enough to increase funding to reverse layoffs at the municipal level.

Even then, those with millionaire and billionaire incomes would pay a smaller part of their income in total Connecticut taxes than the rest of us.

Right-wing think tanks, media and Republicans in the State Legislature want to cut workers' collective bargaining rights. Tell the Governor and State Legislature to do what is good for all of Connecticut – tax the super rich.

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