Squantz Pond in New Fairfield in fall.

Lately, it seems that every other week, Connecticut’s news audience is treated to a new essay by a disaffected resident planning on quitting the Nutmeg State for good. This genre seems particularly robust among writers who are white, well-off, and somewhere in the neighborhood of retirement age.

The taxes are too high. The unions are too powerful. The cities have far too much political clout, because of the deeply unfair circumstance that lots of people live in them. This is no longer a state where a retired couple can realize the humble American dream of owning three homes, seven cars, a modest yacht, and an underachieving racehorse. How can anyone want to remain in this tax-choked hell on earth, where grass grows in the street and the living envy the dead?

Let me offer a different perspective.

Twice, work took me away from home in Connecticut, once to Massachusetts, and then to West Virginia and North Carolina. Massachusetts you’re already familiar with; it’s like Connecticut but larger, and no one is willing to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. But the other two states yield more useful insights.

West Virginia has deep, structural, generations-old problems that make Connecticut’s look like luxury disaffections. West Virginia is desperately poor, and has been ever since it was founded. It has been plundered and exploited by industries that funneled wealth out of the state, leaving environmental devastation behind. In measures ranging from obesity to life expectancy to educational attainment, West Virginia ranks in the bottom five of the country (a grim joke in the state is “Thank God for Mississippi,” which usually rates even worse), while Connecticut ranks in the top five.

When it comes to bad government, West Virginia’s rococo roster of cutthroats and scoundrels makes our own collection of parking meter hustlers look like a Cub Scout troop. Any public figure who earnestly tried to better the state tended to get run out of town, like Gov. William Marland, who stood up to the coal bosses; or shot dead in the street, like Mingo County Sheriff Sid Hatfield, who also stood up to the coal bosses (standing up to the coal bosses, then as now, is not advisable for those seeking a comfortable retirement).

But what I didn’t encounter in West Virginia was a surfeit of residents complaining about West Virginia. On the contrary; I have never lived in a place where people took more pride in their shared home. And not an abstract, vague pride, either: West Virginians can and will tell you specifically what they love about their state, from its breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes to the flinty defiance of its political history. Every West Virginian who has made good, from Jennifer Garner to Homer Hickam, is celebrated to an almost cultish degree. Every Saturday in the fall, the entire state is decked out in the blue and gold of West Virginia University, except for the region around Huntington, which proudly sports the green and white of Marshall University.

North Carolina, by contrast, has more to brag about, particularly in the four parts of the state where Northerners are willing to live: the Research Triangle, the touristy parts of the coast, Charlotte, and Asheville. Venture outside these areas, though, and you’ll quickly encounter a different side of the Old North State.

North Carolina has the 15th highest poverty rate in the country, with one in five children living below the federal poverty line – and this 2018 figure represents an improvement over recent years. The typical North Carolina household makes as much money in 2019 as it did in 2007. The legacy of Jim Crow racism remains a toxic problem in the present, as the state’s political orientation has swung from moderately conservative to hard right over the last decade (thanks in part to the mass migration of tax-hating Northerners to this Dixie wonderland).

But even in the desperately poor precincts of the Great Smoky Mountains, or in the depressed counties in the northeastern corner of the state, you’ll find unvarnished expressions of pride and gratitude at being alive in North Carolina. The powder blue of the University of North Carolina and the red-and-white of N.C. State are omnipresent, as are celebrations of the distinct traditions and folkways of this state.

I don’t mean to minimize the very real challenges facing Connecticut, or to suggest that mindless cheerleading is a solution to structural problems. But there are plenty of people in West Virginia and North Carolina who are clear-eyed about the troubles their states face who nonetheless would never dream of living anywhere else.

I was privileged to know many of them. Their anguish over mountaintop removal mining or child poverty was rooted in a profound and enduring love of the places where they were born and raised. “Solving” those problems by moving to another state never occurs to these people: nowhere else in the world do bars close every night with a communal singalong of “Take Me Home, Country Roads;” no other place has barbecue that tastes like Lexington barbecue. “Home” is non-negotiable for the people who love it.

There are problems in Connecticut, but our state has strengths and advantages that other places would do anything to possess. The first step toward realizing our potential consists simply in grasping what people in West Virginia and North Carolina already know: we’re all in this together.

Tom Breen lives in Manchester.

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69 Comments

  1. People are leaving this tiny state with huge problems because there is not a chance that the issues facing Connecticut will be fixed. Corporations saw/see this, and are the canaries in the coalmine.
    The very worst of West Virginia and other states will one day be the best Corrupticut will have.
    Enjoy!

  2. Yes, Tom, every place has problems and poverty. Didn’t Jesus sing, “surely you’re not saying we have the resources to save the poor from their lot.” What is frustrating about CT is there is no one trying to fix the problem…only make them worse. There is no accountability in Hartford and with more than 18 billion in bonded debt, and many billions more in pension debt…either taxes will continue to skyrocket, or services will continue to be curtailed.

  3. Way to go Tom! Totally agree with you, and you are very witty and insightful. We moved here from California 16 years ago and love and appreciate Connecticut and all it has to offer. No plans to leave, and loving living here.

    1. You no doubt got tax relief coming from California to Connecticut. As bad as Connecticut is fiscally, California is worse. Another beautiful state though.

  4. Connecticut is a raging dumpster fire, period. I have been here 58 years, i used to love this state, but the unchecked spending, the unfunded pension liabilities and the inability to cut spending in any way have driven me to formulate an exit plan. I don’t plan on being here 59 years. If folks like the author can afford to pay ever rising taxes and fees to the state and local governments please stay, someone has to finance this mess, it will not be me.

  5. Glad to finally see something positive about the state of CT. While I think the whiners are more working class (not well-off) and in their 40’s (not close to retirement age), the message is pretty accurate. NY taxes are worse. They tax everything too! But I think we could improve things if we taxed the wealthy of CT a bit more. They love it here and are not feeling tax pain at all. Then we could be even better!

    1. You could tax the rich into oblivion and you would not fix Connecticut’s fiscal issues which are structural and decades in the making. Its more likely you will motivate them into moving or at least securing full-time residency in a no income tax state. That will make things worse still.

  6. Yes, Tom Breen can’t make his point without exaggerating and misrepresenting the situations in CT and his chosen foil states. What we deeply resent in CT is the “rule” and plunder of the ruling political class. A political class that takes good care of itself and its chosen “protected” groups. Tho WV may have its problems, the people are proud and have more control, and value more control over their lives, to solve their own problems. We’ve all been watching big govt long enough in the USA to see that govt solves precious few problems. Instead the ruling political class plunders us with taxes, feathers their nests and deigns to both tell us what to do, and control as much of our lives as they can. They don’t know any better than us and we’re sick of listening to their stupid pronouncements every time they walk to a microphone. We should eliminate the state income tax and power-down their control over our lives. If we can’t get it done there’s nothing wrong with leaving them to stew in the human disaster they and their failed liberal policies have created.

    1. You had me until you got to eliminating state income tax Bob. I don’t see how that is possible given the debt mess we’re in. It would be nice if we were in a position to roll some of it back but unlikely I think in this liberal utopia.

      1. You are correct – the current CT regime will not do the hard work to turn the state around. People will just leave and go to a state that doesn’t plunder its people as bad. CT will have to deal with the aftermath. The national story will evolve differently because real Americans don’t want to leave America. When the national debt and financial crisis boils over there will likely be a fight to save our liberties.

    2. ” the people are proud and have more control, and value more control over their lives, to solve their own problems.”

      No, they don’t, unless by “the people” you specifically are talking about the coal company executives.

      1. Try – just try to look at the big picture. The diffusion of power is the greatest guarantor of liberty. CT and the fools who have been elected to Federal and State authority seek only to increase both Federal and State control over our lives – undisputed fact. The Feds NEVER devolve power back to the states. And this state govt is intent on increasing its control. So – by moving to a state without a state income tax, with a lower cost of living and slightly less regulation, you have simply moved further back in the line of states rushing toward the cliff of fiscal, political and social decline and destruction. Reality is as simple as that – Neither of our “views” can change the reality we share. This entire Crisis is destined to boil over. The people leaving CT will just be in a little better shape to weather it all.

  7. Tom, you certainly make some good points in a witty fashion. It was a fun read. I’m afraid, however, that this state has drifted too far left to make meaningful changes that would encourage more people to stay. We have taxed and spent our way nearly to oblivion, with budget deficits as far as the eye can see to pay for grossly under funding and over promising retiree benefits for state union workers. The fiscal battle cry we hear to address that mess? Lets tax the rich more so that we can spend more. Corporations are leaving our state, even for neighboring states. Our kids, including mine, leave the state for greener pastures. Our legislature dabbles in social and economic engineering that is half-baked and detrimental to taxpaying citizens. They seem also to care more about people here illegally than they do the tax-paying citizens. And yet our one party rule is stronger than ever and the opposition party is an endangered species. What a recipe for continued success.

    Personally, I’m white (apologies), older, have one house, a few toys, but no racehorse (unfortunately). I love this state and have lived here for many years with all it has to offer. But, like many below and throughout the state, I am giving serious thought to whether I want to continue to be complicit to our clown show in Hartford. Connecticut is on the decline and will only get worse if we continue on the current trajectory. Is there any wonder Connecticut is consistently ranked among the worst states in which to retire?

    1. Hi Meg Nutter, we welcome your comments but please note that our guidelines require that comments be limited to 1,000 characters. We will not be able to approve comments that exceed that limit going forward.

  8. Why do the problems of other states improve CT’s situation?
    The easy response to this article is, Okay, someone leaving CT is unlikely to move to WV or parts of NC.
    CT does have advantages such as its legacy industries and wealthy sections and a quality of life many find congenial. But people who move out aren’t leaving because of what they like about the state; they’re leaving for more comfortable areas economically.
    It’s inappropriate to blame the actions of the state legislature for the lack of growth. There’d be fewer complaints if the state were growing. And the legislature is not the main reason for stagnation. We know that people will pay higher taxes if they’re earning enough.
    So this article is not relevant to CT’s problems. The question is, Why isn’t CT growing economically? and not Why should anyone want to leave?

    1. “they’re leaving for more comfortable areas economically.”

      But not until their children are out of school and its safe to move somewhere with low taxes and bad schools.

  9. It would be interesting to read the op-ed that was “I left Connecticut due to the yawning wealth inequality and lack of taxes on the wealthy that’s resulted in cruel austerity.” Of course those who recognize that are generally more concerned with fixing it than tax dodging through their retirement in South Carolina.

  10. I love Connecticut! However, I fear the excessive, wasteful spending and excessive taxation our Progressive Leadership promotes will turn our beloved state, into nothing more than another borough of New York. Yes, the Gold Coast will continue to thrive, but all else could potentially wither and shrink in GDP and population due to the Exodus of common Sense happening in our state

  11. As someone who grew up in West Virginia and moved to Connecticut over 7 years ago, this really spoke to me. Well done. Many people don’t realize what they have until they have experienced not having it. I have always thought it is about one’s personal perspective.

  12. As a hard core Republican disgusted with the ever-taxing Democrats and their liberal minions in the media, I can tell you that I mostly agree with this article. I love it here. I have lived all over the country and grew up in western Pennsylvania. You can’t beat Connecticut.

    Yes, I know the taxes are ridiculous and we are about to get tolls under the guise of infrastructure repair. I know these tolls will soon be diverted to finance the pensions of assorted political grifters and the roads will remain a mess. Furthermore, there are minor annoyances, such as going to a party and listening to some woman with a Hermes scarf and sipping a Pinot Grigio screech about how she is being oppressed by President Trump; but after Fairfield, there is only heaven.

    I just wish our policy leaders would make some attempt to make Connecticut habitable for the young people – as the ambitious ones are leaving the state.

    1. I have to take issue with one of your points. The roads in Connecticut, by comparison to other states including North Carolina and West Virginia, are actually pretty well maintained. I’m not saying they’re perfect. They’re not. But if this is a comparison with other states, Connecticut roads are among the best in the union.

      1. CT bridges are some of the worst as far as repair. Go take a peek under a bridge sometime. They all rusted out. CT takes potholes seriously. I’ll give you that. I drove through Ohio once and the highway had crazy potholes. People were just driving over them doing 65-70mph like it was nothing.

  13. The author is making a comparison when none is necessary – focus on the problem – not name calling. Connecticut’s problems can be solved, albeit very painfully for those that rely on government. We were once a low cost, high-value state. Now we are the opposite – except for real estate, which is becoming affordable compared to NY and MA. Unfortunately, there is far too much housing supply and very little demand. Hopefully, that will change as the millenniums leave the cities after they start families – the normal cycle.

    A faster way to change, and the only real way out of this mess is business growth. However, that means repealing decades of anti-growth policy – something that many of our current politicians are unwilling to do? Why? Because they created those policies even though the business community warned against it. As a businessman Gov. Lamont should get that but where are the repeals?

  14. Philidor said it correctly: Who is leaving CT for WV? No one! I’ve known lots of people who left for NC and absolutely love it. Gee, there’s poor and racist parts of NC? No kidding- the same can be said for CT.

    The fact is, I’m in my early 40’s and I could retire in a few years if I moved south. But if I stay in CT, I won’t be retiring for a long long time. And there’s more to life than wasting 50 hours a week to pay the obscene taxes this state burdens us with.

    My absolute biggest regret in life was buying a house here instead of moving south.

  15. I’m not sure if the author is trying to make a valid point (he mostly fails) or generate ‘clicks’, thumbs up or down. The comparison to WV and NC is way off-base and irrelevant anyway. People are leaving many high-tax states, not just CT. Politicians will constantly increase taxes to pay for their pork and finance their patronage jobs, because after all it’s all about getting elected, not doing what’s best for your constituents overall. You can increase taxes only so far and then you have to pay the piper. And for those of you who feel the ‘rich’ don’t pay their fair share, ask England how they felt over losing the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. in the 1960s with a 95% tax rate. GE and the Insurance Companies were our rock stars and now they’re gone.

    1. Yeah and the Beatles don’t make any new songs. Would you rather still have GE and their thousands of employees here or in Boston? Their own financial issues are irrelevant to my comment. All those people moving out of the state (GE and all the other companies) have helped depress real estate prices and lowered tax revenue. I don’t care how successful or unsuccessful a company is, I’d rather have them here versus another state.

      1. It’s not just headquarters jobs – they have moved or eliminated 1000s of other jobs too. This has been a slow bleed over years, not just the year of the Fairfield HQ closing. That’s the problem – CT politicians have been allowing this to happen over the last 10+ years.

    1. Yes, that is true. CT is like a coal mine that many of us endure to earn our bread, but we long to leave and see the blue skies of freedom.

  16. Connecticut should immediately cut costs, restructure public pension benefits and then aggressively cut taxes. The state should impose a flat 2% tax. By removing SALT, states must compete based on their relative costs and benefits. If CT cut state tax to 2% they would get a lot of New Yorkers and MA residents moving there in a heartbeat.

    1. ” they would get a lot of New Yorkers and MA residents moving there in a heartbeat.”

      Only the people who already live near the border where they would still be in commuting distance of their jobs.

  17. I have to agree with this. I’ve lived in other states, but I love CT. I know it’s not perfect, but nowhere is. I’ve lived in NY state which is higher in cost and I’ve lived in OH which is much lower. They all had their problems. I wish we would stop bashing CT. I blame the voters for our government. We keep voting the same group of people into office yet we expect things to change. I say that as a democrat who doesn’t always vote democratic. When was the last time you voted for someone with a new idea? When was the last time you voted for someone who is always trying to get into the national news for their own ambition?

  18. Thank you for your perspective. Connecticut is a beautiful state, and we enjoyed our time there. Ironically, I’m reading this on my drive away from the state. You have stated a few of the reasons for leaving, but let me add some to your list: The business unfriendly environment, declining GDP, huge per-capita unfunded pension liability second only to Illinois, refusal to permit health insurance alternatives to ACA, likely reimposition of the individual mandate.

    1. “refusal to permit health insurance alternatives to ACA”

      You mean those church schemes that may or may not pay for anything?

      Obviously, plenty of people have non-ACA insurance: people with employer-provided insurance, etc.

      1. I assume you are referring to medishares? Which have grown 6-fold since ACA was introduced, with good reason btw. Also indemnity plans and short-term insurance. But, more to the point of the article, your embedded disdain, hostility, and ignorance, is part of the reason we left the state.

  19. Its as simple as this! A lot of retirees can t afford to retire in Ct.And Ct is not retiree friendly like the southern states!Taxes are far far less as is the total cost of living Its really a no brainer why we people leave Ct

  20. I am originally from Long Island. I spent a lifetime listening to similar complaints from similar people. Most couldn’t wait to leave and relocate to either Florida or the Carolinas, spouting similar issues as their reason. That the folks in West Virginia and North Carolina are less vocal may well be due to their relatively low income levels that don’t allow for higher aspirations.

    I relocated to Western Massachusetts upon retirement due to the affordability relative to Long Island as well as having been familiar with the region from years of vacationing in all seasons. What I never did was bash Long Island and only saw it in a different light a few years after relocating and then immersing myself back in the crowding and rushing, but I’ve also found that to be true even in Eastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island as well.

  21. Everyone has their own deal. It’s a free country and after you’ve worked here and paid your taxes here you want to leave, well good luck.
    What I’ve noticed in most of these “I’m leaving Connecticut” op-ed pieces is a sense of sadness over the condition of our state that has compelled them to leave. That’s telling, too bad.

  22. Thank you so much for this wonderful piece on CT. I will forever be baffled by those blowhards who RAG instead of BRAG about CT. I have travelled the country, been in almost every state and CT is simply the best place to be. That’s why I live here. I can’t think of anything dumber than selecting your state soley based on money. Live where you have loved ones near. Where you have a great science museums, hiking, the arts, the ocean within 90 minutes of every location. An amazing sports legacy in UCONN hoops for starters. Live where you have history, and quaint little towns like Guilford or Chester. Live where you’re 2 hours from Fenway, Broadway, or skiing in VT. Live where you pop into 5 major airports within a couple hours or fly out of convenient BDL or Tweed. Most of all….live where the people are awesome, the conversation is interesting, and you have fun. MOVE TO CT. If you don’t like it…find someplace that makes you happy but for God’s sake. Stop whining like a two year old with diaper rash.

  23. I live and work at the western MA/CT border. For me, it was impossible to live on the CT side because of the tax situation. I would be paying 20% higher state income taxes, 200% higher state capital gains tax, 50% higher property taxes, 100% higher car annual tax. Whereas MA is lowering its taxes (albeit minimally), CT only has higher taxes, higher tolls, higher surchages for the foreseeable future. CT is one of the worst states to live and work relative to other states until business and taxes improves.

  24. If your point is to appreciate what you have, I agree. As a resident of CT until this summer, I loved some things about the state. It’s a beautiful place with fantastic outdoor activities, in close proximity to so many things to do.

    Unfortunately, MANY residents of Connecticut don’t like it there, or at least don’t appreciate what they have. When I moved there, most people I met asked why we would move to CT. They were incredulous.

    What I didn’t love: In the last two years, my house house in Farmington declined in value by 4%; the average for our neighborhood. On top of that, the taxes keep going up. I moved to a bigger house in Georgia and saved over $6,000 annually in property taxes.

    I wish you well. I just couldn’t stay and watch my house value decline and my taxes increase.

    1. When I lived in New Mexico, and I got ID’d or if the subject came up, people always asked me why I left Connecticut?? They just couldn’t believe it. They thought it was like some place where money grew on trees and everyone was a millionaire. They always looked at me funny. Lol.

      The grass is always greener on the other side as they say. I bet you have a nice place in GA, but you couldn’t pay me the $6,000 a year to live in that area. And you’d have to pay me $100,000 a year to live in New Mexico again. The thing about taxes and the cost of living is they never go down, no matter where you are.

      Better to live in a state you see as beautiful then a state that’s “cheaper to live in” I guess. I heard North Dakota is booming right now from oil drilling. But who wants to deal with that cold? I bet the taxes are cheap and people are very nice though.

      1. I see your point. I have family in Georgia, love the weather and outdoor activities available here. Plus, I love the fact that beaches are about 5 hours away and the Blue Ridge mountains are just 2 hours away. I can fly anywhere I would want to go non-stop, as the world’s busiest airport is here. It’s great that you have found your home and appreciate it! Me too.

  25. We lived in Connecticut, then moved to Virginia where we lived for 11 years, then moved back to Connecticut. I agree … there’s a lot of great stuff in Connecticut. That’s why we moved back. But the simple truth is that Connecticut is one of the highest taxed states in the union, generally ranked up there with California and New York vying for the top spot … a dubious distinction.

    Also, for all of the pride you find in West Virginia, North Carolina, and yes, Virginia, there’s also a lot of depression, both economic and of the clinical variety. So I think the author was overstating his case a bit. It’s easy to cherry pick.

  26. I just moved from Fairfield County to Dallas,Texas. I’m 24 so I’ll give perspective from someone younger. What drove me out of Connecticut was boredom, lack of culture, and cost of living.

    I understand the point of this article, but it’s kind of silly to compare it to another state like West Virginia. It doesn’t really drive your point anywhere since it’s apples to oranges.

    1. Lack of Culture in comparison to Dallas? Within miles of Fairfield County you have all the NYC museums, theaters and many regional museums and theaters in CT.

  27. I love Connecticut. It is one of two states that has been unable to return to employment levels that existed before the great recession. That’s not ‘crybaby’, that’s just a data point. It’s ok to be concerned about that if you love the state; if you object to the fact that the state government is loaded with nepotism and corruption–it’s ok to object. Your article has a furious tone that character assassinates those who have dared to work, plan, and create – and who disagree with the careerists who join politics in order to spend other people’s money to enrich themselves and their friends. By the way, what grade are you in Tom?

  28. I’ve lived in several states over my lifetime, but I’ve always come back to Connecticut and here is where I will spend out my days. I live in the NW corner so I don’t have to deal with the madness of the suburban core or the problems of the cities. Our rural taxes are high as are state taxes, but I take it as part of the cost of living in a great landscape where people from away come to have their second homes. Politics here are brutal, as they are everywhere else in America. Both parties had their chances to fix things but they both failed. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the countryside here is gorgeous and Connecticut Yankees rank among the finest people on the planet. You couldn’t pay me to move to the south where the poverty and racism are suffocating and accepted by the middle and upper classes as just the way it is. And you have to feel that way to move down there. No thanks. I’ll take progressive CT and New England any day of the week.

    1. There is beautiful landscape all over this country. I live in Fairfield County, work in NYC, and have a second home on the coast in a southern state – my views and experiences are not parochial. Poverty and racism can exist anywhere. Implying that this is endemic to the south and its citizens is simply ignorant and nasty. Please stay where you are.

    2. As a black woman, I feel oppressed living in Connecticut EVERYDAY. Stop acting like there’s no racism in this state because it’s alive and well here

      1. Of course, Allyson. I recommend every white person reading this to join their local chapter of NAACP (mine is the fine one in Willimantic) to be reminded that racism is the water Americans swim in. It IS everywhere. That said, Allyson, would you move to one of the southern states just because the taxes are lower?

  29. I feel as if the author only addresses one demographic. It’s not just retirees that are tired of being over taxed.

    Honestly this state makes it nearly impossible to become a homeowner if you are even middle class (moderate income.) We have worked long hours and even longer getting a secondary education to make more money here. This state continues with it’s policies that take more and more of our money. We are too “rich” to qualify for help yet unable to pay the nearly $6k a year property taxes to become homeowners and fulfill our own American dream. And that is for a modestly priced home in our area.
    Also yearly car property tax. Income tax on top of federal taxes. Now they want tolls.

    Also there really isn’t much to do here. And not to mention the whole 4-6 months of nearly no sunshine which causes REAL mental health issues.

    If you have a young family you quickly see that yes the schools are great. But there isn’t a lot to do; #1 for low cost #2 There truly is a lack of entertainment
    I’ve been back here for 7 years (from FL) and they only thing that brought us back here is family.
    So that doesn’t make us “crybabies” to not want to stay. The state leadership continues to make bad policies.
    Yes it’s beautiful here. But it’s beautiful in MANY places. Maybe the author just hasn’t been to enough of them.

    1. Hi Shae, we welcome your comments but please note that our guidelines require that comments be limited to 1,000 characters. We will not be able to approve comments that exceed that limit going forward.

  30. There’s an easy solution to Connecticut’s problems: simply push the clock back to the 1950’s! That’s when the Eisenhower administration built the interstate highways, airports, and other infrastructure projects — and when corporations all had defined benefit pension plans — when unions were strong — and when the top marginal income tax rate was only 70%. (And when West Virginia and North Carolina were still firmly in the grip of Jim Crow.) Yes; those were the good ol’ days.

  31. This mentality comes from what I call the “We can’t” politics of the states GOP. The Senate minority leader takes any spotlight he gets to let the residents of CT know we can’t. If you hear it enough it becomes true. So if we can fix it, bash it and let the world know you‘ll leave at your first chance. To the genre noted, before you complain about the financial success CT has afforded you and now is forcing you out, ask what can I do to make it better. Maybe volunteer an hour a week to remind you of what you DO have.

  32. You’re comparing Connecticut to West Virginia and bragging that Connecticut wins by a nose? Wow.

  33. Typical “look over there” and forget about what’s going on “over here” Can almost see the “spiddle” spewing from the sides of the writer’s mouth! The left is such an angry group. The corruption that has and continues to destroy this great state is criminal. Many of us were born here and don’t have the 4 houses and the yacht, but due to the union stranglehold and insane waste of taxpayer dollars see our ability to survive here diminishing. That is not being a crybaby that is stating a very clear and measurable fact. This state has been decimated by corruption and overspending while the rest of the nation is continuing to recover..

    1. I’m not “unclear,” I have a different opinion. Last I looked, that was still possible. Breen can acknowledge whatever he likes, as can you…………….so can I.

  34. Thanks Tom Breen – all states have more than their fair share of issues. Connecticut has long-term debt that it failed to confront under administrations and legislatures controlled by both parties at one time or another. The gold-plated pensions and healthcare benefits that state employees have dissipated as has the state workforce which has shrunk by thousands of employees. Dealing with unpaid debt has placed a huge burden on state budgets and things like transportation infrastructure and social services have been chronically underfunded. People hate taxes – I am no exception – but you get what you paid for. For years we were getting great services and not really paying all our bills because politicians were afraid to raise taxes or cut services for fear of angering their constituents. People who have benefited from our services and quality public schools are now getting older and are moving out – that’s their right – but I really don’t want to read op-eds from retired executives kicking our state on their way to a lower tax state with crappier services and horrible public schools (there is a reason no one sends their kids to public schools in Florida if they have two nickels to rub together).

  35. Mr Breen, is ok if I whine about a 22% increase in my commercial property taxes this year? Or is that not sufficient to cause whining? I refuse to be a slave to public employee and teacher’s unions. I am actively planning my escape route from your arrogance.

  36. Great article explaining the problem: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/connecticut-tax-inequality-cities/532623/. Biggest problems I see: declining population, (we’ve already lost one Congressional district and will probably lose another one after the upcoming census), especially retirees whose income is taxed here but not in many other states; hyper-focus on large, unionized businesses while ignoring small businesses, increasing fees and taxes on everything from plastic bags to take-out food. One quick example: although they repealed the annual Business Entity Tax (a fee of $250 per year for the “privilege” of doing business here, they increased the yearly fee that is charged to let the Secretary of State know that none of the information they have about your business has changed by 500%. (I thought our taxes were supposed to pay for the Sect. of State’s office?)

  37. Ok Tom….you shut up. Half joking but half not, let me say I was born and raised in CT and now live in NC so you just visiting NC verses living here, you don’t really have a clear perspective to judge…agreed? I’ll admit, I love and miss CT during the fall. My family is still in Middletown and I married a man from Waterbury (let’s talk about how great that city is! and Bridgeport or Hartford?…no?) Now yes, CT it is a magnificent state with a ridiculous amount of advantages over the rest of the country. The status, the educational system!, the social systems (re: the openness to equality for everyone), etc. yes CT is great and definitely better than other states. But CT also has always had so much more money (old and new money) than other places that, those of us who couldn’t keep up with the taxes just had to leave. Especially those people who are nearer to retirement and are not interested in shoving snow anymore.
    Now let me also point out that speaking as an African-American, CT has always been a very Euro-centric state with very little black culture compared to the south. Your statement, “North Carolina, by contrast, has more to brag about, particularly in the four parts of the state where Northerners are willing to live”…wow. Nice to have choices huh?
    This doesn’t make CT culture better, its like comparing CT to Miami with a large Hispanic population, and as ethnically rich as the country is becoming, CT might want to look at who they’re losing and what they can do for those who are coming in. Bottom line is, CT doesn’t work for everyone anymore, clearly those in power are looking for a certain demographic to stay, which is you, and making it impossible for others to live there. Saying that people who don’t want or can’t afford what CT has to offer anymore are whiny crybabies is a bit elitist. Which again being from there is typical CT.

    1. Hi Avis, we welcome your comments but please note that our guidelines require that comments be limited to 1,000 characters. We will not be able to approve comments that exceed that limit going forward.

  38. Mr Breen You are right living here can be terrific. Trying to run a small business here is Horrific. New Minimum wage increase ,Very high property taxes, A new floor tax, 70 yr old regulations ,family leave, A,top 5 utility cost ,Increased or new sales taxes ( prepared foods really) and many other things that are now included. ,Very high state income taxes, (Fla has none) Very aggressive unions with influence over everything. (Just look at how Unions have inserted themselves into the restaurant lawsuit situation effectively paralyzing the Senate Dems from doing the right thing ). And on and and on. When was the last time you saw a grand opening in your neighborhood.

  39. I moved from CT to PA in 2016 after years of constantly being told that I needed to leave to pursue career opportunities. It was the worst decision I have ever made. The problem is that so many of the complainers are middle anged and older people who have never lived anywhere BUT Connecticut. Knowing what I do now, I can say that yes, I will gladly pay more in taxes to receive public services that most Nutmeggers (including myself) take for granted.

  40. The social issues NC and WV face, could be corrected if the citizens there choose to do so.

    I wouldn’t mind paying high taxes if the money was going to go to deserving people or common problems. Instead what has happened to CT is a small group, our state employees, have subverted the tax machinery of the state solely for their benefit. Their fringe benefits do not help anyone but themselves, despite the Union bosses claiming criticism of this is “an attack on the middle class”. CT faces a deficit of $50000 per citizen to pay for state employee benefits, pensions and health care.

    This is a moral issue. Why should the rest of us fund another group’s retirement etc when we are struggling with traffic, bad bridges, lousy inner city schools etc etc. ? Add this to the fact that state employees can never be fired, abuse the system and have lifetime health insurance and you can easily see why people are disgusted and leaving.

  41. Democrats never recognize that people can just move. In 2016 3000 companies and rich left America for more tax friendly countries. Now people and businesses will do the same to conn.

  42. I agree with Tom Breen. Why are CT editors – supposedly bent to the left — so enamored with the state GOP’s crybaby talking points? The reality is that developers can’t build new homes fast enough. Hundreds have spring up this year in Milford, for example – with hundreds more in development or approved. Life is good in the Nutmeg State. Get over it!

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