Democrats’ proposed pandemic tax hikes show what’s wrong with CT

January 30, 2021


I first decided to run for local office because I saw first-hand the punitive nature of the property tax in Connecticut. I saw my friends’ parents, people who had given their entire lives to our communities, being forced out of their homes. Community members that have paid taxes for years, coached our Little League teams, volunteered for our schools and charities forced to sell their lifetime homes because of unrealized increases in property value and an out-of-control tax climate in our state.

For the most vulnerable among us, particularly seniors living on a fixed income, the property tax is a burden that too often reduces quality of life, forces people from their homes or, for those with the means to leave, forces people to leave Connecticut.

When I served as a member of the town council and as the mayor in Groton, I fought for fiscal responsibility and we delivered two tax decreases. But I found that to truly change the trajectory of our state, I needed to step-up and take on the power brokers in Hartford.

While the tax-hiking, job-crushing agenda of Democratic insiders in Hartford has been hidden in plain sight for some time, their latest proposal is a case study in everything that’s wrong with Connecticut and the mentality of those who wield one-party rule.

This week, Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, who leads the 24-member Democratic majority, proposed two laws that will tax a majority of homeowners and businesses and further punish those who make a living and hope to retire in Connecticut.

The Democratic leader’s plan would establish a new statewide property tax on residential and commercial property — in the middle of a pandemic.

Not content to stay within their usual bounds of indirectly contributing to rising property taxes by passing unfunded mandates and budget cuts onto municipalities, now Democrats want to just hike your property taxes with no intermediary step.

But this plan doesn’t stop there.

The leading Democrat in the General Assembly wants to also increase taxes on capital gains. This wouldn’t only apply to the investments of the wealthy, but would hit hardworking Connecticut taxpayers who save toward their retirement with a 401-K or other investments in stocks and bonds.

According to Looney, taxpayers have experienced a “windfall” over the last 10 months — never mind many of these taxpayers have faced lost income, increased costs and unemployment amid the unprecedented economic challenges of the last year.

The Democrat justification for these proposed taxes goes like this: some cities and towns are generating less revenue than they need – so let’s raise the property taxes on everyone and squeeze anyone with investments. Then we can hand out the money however we deem worthy from under Hartford’s Gold Dome.

Democrats say these taxes are on “high-value homes” and “high-wage earners” but the tax falls on approximately 75% of homeowners. The additional one-percent capital gains tax will be added to the current 5% rate, no matter what your economic station. For business owners in the cities, this plan adds ridiculous insult to injury since they are already subject to some of the highest property taxes in the state to pay for often incompetent, and at times corrupt, political leadership.

Democrats didn’t complain when they found out that Wall Street winnings would give them just enough short-term budget flexibility to kick the can of financial responsibility further down the road. For those interested in taking more of your money and making no hard choices, what better way than to reap return on investment while taxing hardworking people out of theirs?

Since March 2020, Connecticut has lost 18,000 businesses, lost thousands more jobs, lost months of learning for school children and experienced an epidemic of social and emotional damage from isolation, depression and suicide. But rather than keep an intense focus on defeating this challenge and lifting up every Connecticut resident and small business, Democrats are eyeing an opportunity to hike taxes based on divisive and dishonest class warfare rhetoric. They see an opening to take more of what’s yours to decide how it should be used, regardless of how their policies effect your life, your retirement or your business.

This exposes the mentality that lies at the heart of everything wrong in our state’s political system. Democrats control every branch of state government and every federal office. These Democratic leaders should condemn the Looney plan. 

Those who won’t either support it or lack the courage to stand up for the citizens of Connecticut.

– Heather Somers represents the 18th District, consisting of Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington and Voluntown.