MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG

Trust, Leadership, Results: three words often used in political campaigns of both major political parties.   I propose two more: “common sense.”

Keith Phaneuf’s article about taxes (CT Mirror, 22 December,  “Are Lamont and his fellow Democrats headed for a showdown over Taxes?”) makes no references to cutting costs.  Instead, it focuses entirely on how much more the “rich” should pay.  Connecticut taxpayers, regardless of wealth, have every right to question how our leaders are allocating our tax dollars.

All of us agree that citizens should pay for certain services only government can provide. But the heavy hand of government continues to execute top-down decisions based on short-term circumstances. We are being short changed by elected and appointed officials using our tax dollars to further their own political ambitions.  Cutting costs should be the first consideration by our elected officials, rather than how, from whom, and how much to raise taxes.

Phaneuf implies tax increases dressed up as reform are the only answer to our impending financial crisis.  Common sense would suggest that job creation would be the more effective sustaining antidote.

The entire COVID saga has shown that because wealth is extremely mobile there’s a healthy competition for where and how that wealth is disbursed. Our objective should be to keep existing taxpayers and companies within our borders, by creating a favorable business climate to attract more businesses.  Instead, our leaders want to wring more taxes from a shrinking pool of producers. Once Hartford has extracted every last penny from the “rich” and finds itself still in the hole, it will turn to the “middle class” as the next tranche of taxpayers to be asked to “pay just a little more,” as so often heard from the governor.

Everywhere one looks in Connecticut, there are government-created barriers to job creation. But recent experience suggests another way is possible.   Three years ago, the federal corporate tax rate was reduced from a nominal 35% to an internationally competitive 21%.  This decrease in corporate income taxes spurred an historic boom in job creation and led to historically low unemployment and new opportunities across all demographics.

The best performance for job creation nationally was in the lower economic strata with records set for low unemployment among blacks, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities.  Other than reducing taxes, the bulk of this job creation had nothing to do with the government, and it certainly wasn’t the result of the government designating winning sectors. The entire economy grew.

Our elected leadership won’t pursue this path until their constituents demand it. Unfortunately, we have devolved from a government that protects a framework for opportunity to an omniscient granter of favors with little regard for common sense.

Robert Ham lives in Cheshire.

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