Monday, July 10, 2017


Summer jobs for teenagers have been canceled, state college and university charges keep rising, and every area of public life is affected by the state's budget crisis -- all in the second wealthiest state in the country.

Connecticut's budget shortfall is projected at about $2 billion per year. Yet, the wealthiest residents pay a lower tax rate than the rest of us, and more is lost through corporate loopholes, special exemptions, and tax evasion. If the wealthiest paid at the same rate as the rest of us, more than $2 billion per year would be raised, erasing the deficit!

Despite this, we are told that asking big corporations, millionaires and billionaires to pay their share is off the table. That leaves only one alternative: cut, cut, cut.

What should we cut? Children with disabilities. Kick kids off HUSKY? Summer jobs? Close state parks and beeches? Raise tuition for higher ed (even more)? Cut Care4Kids so moms lose their jobs when they can't afford child care? Cut support for cities and towns? End the already-reduced property tax credit?

If taxing the rich is off the table, everyone else is left to fight over the crumbs. This pits towns against cities, workers against retirees, and kids' education against housing.

Particularly damaging is the attack on public workers and their bargaining rights, led by Republicans and following the Koch brothers' playbook. Instead of asking state workers to cut back retirement and health benefits they were promised, why not ask the banks and other bondholders to give up some of the payments they were promised?

There is enough wealth in this state to maintain and even expand the work being done, while keeping promises made to state workers and filling vacancies to allow them to perform their jobs.

Increase the tax rate on the portion of incomes over $250,000 per year. Close the "carried interest" loophole. Extend the sales tax to yacht storage, legal fees, and other services mainly used by the wealthy and big business. Review and end outdated corporate subsidies and tax exemptions. Enact the low-wage employers fee, so that big companies like Walmart that pay less than $15/hr would reimburse the state for the cost of providing services to their workers.

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