Democrats Help the Well Connected, Not the Middle Class

May 11, 2021

Op-ed by Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly  as it appeared in Hearst Connecticut Media


CT Democrats talk the talk. But they don’t walk the walk.


The Democratic State Senate Leader said he wants equity in state tax policy and a budget that avoids regressive taxes and user fees that hurt low- and moderate-income families (Sen. Looney Stamford Advocate Op-Ed April 15, 2021).


I agree with that goal wholeheartedly. The problem is CT Democrats are doing the exact opposite. They are proposing regressive new taxes on things like gasoline, food, and health insurance, at the same time they’ve given tax breaks and bailouts to the most well-connected.


People are already struggling to afford necessities, yet CT Democrats are proposing a new $100 million tax on gasoline that will make it even more expensive to get to work and balance a family budget. As a Tufts University report on their proposal explains, “Gas price increases also tend to affect poor families more acutely, as they spend a higher portion of their income on gasoline.”


Long lines for free food persist more than a year into the pandemic and grocery prices are rising. And CT Democratic policies will increase the costs of food at the grocery store even further by establishing new taxes on trucks and fuel.


Health care remains unaffordable and inaccessible for far too many, yet CT Democrats want to put a new $50 million tax on all health insurance policies, raising the cost of health insurance premiums and putting insurance further out of reach for many.


Connecticut holds the title of being dead last in job growth and personal income growth in the nation, yet CT Democrats have backed a state-run health program that will jeopardize 50,000 jobs in our flagship industry and the workforce it supports. At the same time, Democrats have flat out rejected Republican proposals that would reduce the costs of health care for all people and address health equity without threatening good paying jobs.


It’s infuriating because it doesn’t have to be this way… if only Democrats stopped giving bailouts and tax breaks to the wealthiest of Connecticut residents.


Last month, CT Democrats fast-tracked a bill that gave a $300 million tax cut to a group of commuters who earn a median income of $433,000.


Democrats are also primed to give UConn Health Center another bailout, this time totaling over $50 million annually for the next three years to pay for pension fund overruns. UConn Health can’t support the enormous pensions for the doctors they employ, so taxpayers pick up the cost year after year.


That’s a total of $350 million that could be used to avoid new taxes on gas, food, and health insurance.


Connecticut middle class families are struggling, and the pandemic has only escalated the inequities that CT Democrats have failed to address over the last two decades in which they have been in complete control of the state legislature.


Democratic policies have not promoted equity. They have not given people a ladder out of poverty. They have not achieved tax fairness. They have not created the opportunities families need to achieve success. And despite all their talk this year, Democrats’ actions continue to make the working and middle class pay more and struggle more.


Republicans offer a better way for Connecticut’s future. We do not put the wealthy before others. We want to make Connecticut affordable for all people.


Connecticut does need tax fairness, but Democratic policies will only make our state more unaffordable for the middle class who can least afford it.


Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly represents the 21st Senate District including Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford. On the web: