Happy Anniversary, Taxpayers

July 1, 2014

“If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street. If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat. If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat. If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.” – “Taxman” by The Beatles

John, Paul, George and Ringo’s famous hit could very well be Connecticut’s official state song these days, especially since July 1 marks a not-so-happy anniversary for Connecticut taxpayers.

Three years ago, the largest tax hike in state history took effect. That record tax hike, backed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Democrat-controlled state legislature, increased all of our burdens in the name of “shared sacrifice.” The lengthy 2011 tax hike list included:

  • Income tax increases
  • Sales tax increase
  • Expansion of the gift and estate taxes
  • A decrease of $200 in the property tax credit
  • Increase in driver’s license and vehicle registration fees
  • The doubling of the corporate surcharge tax

Three years later, it is appropriate for us to ask a simple question: Are we better off now? The people I talk to in greater Waterbury certainly don’t feel better off. The higher taxes have not helped struggling families make ends meet. The tax hikes have not helped small businesses grow the economy.

The tax hikes have cost the average greater Waterbury family more than $1,000 a year. Families and businesses have been forced to readjust their budgets, foregoing their spending and curtailing hiring.

After three years of “shared sacrifice”, you might ask, “Where have my extra tax dollars gone?” They’ve gone to fund an ever-expanding state government – one which subsidizes a $1,000-an-inch busway from New Britain to Hartford and one which sends $115 million of your money to a multi-billionaire hedge fund owner to help him move his company from Westport all the way to Stamford.

Three years later, we still face gigantic future budget deficits. The tax hikes did not solve the state’s budget woes. In fact, gaping budget holes are right around the corner after the election, ratcheting up the pressure on those same state leaders to raise your taxes yet again.
Think about it: they raised your taxes before. If they are returned to office with voter support, why wouldn’t they do it again?

Current Connecticut state government leadership lacks the will to cut wasteful spending. As I noted three years ago, our state is heading in the wrong direction, and remaining on this tax-borrow-spend path will bankrupt our state.

This year, we, the people, have an opportunity to change the players in the State Capitol game. If we don’t, we can expect to continue to come out on the losing end of that game. In other words, a certain song by The Fab Four will play louder and louder in the minds of overburdened and frustrated Connecticut taxpayers. As we mark this infamous anniversary, don’t you think it’s time we changed Connecticut’s theme song?