In this polarized time, we should come together to say the system does not work. We have too many people that are too poor, yet we pay a lot of taxes and there is always a demand for more.
The issue should not be Hartford vs West Hartford vs Chaplin. The issue should be what does the state promise and provide? Payment in lieu of taxes is a great leveling for public spaces, but the legislature does not fund it. This is the biggest harm to towns that hold state and nonprofit property.
Education Cost Sharing is another politicized formula. Many towns get very little, so their property taxes pay for virtually all the school system. Some towns get a lot, as well, but then their property taxpayers pay relatively little for schools.
What we need is honest budgeting. How about if the appropriations committee started with honoring their obligations? Fully fund the redistribution programs like PILOT , special Ed and ECS. Then we could see where we really are.
Some programs may have to be cut, but they might be solved by local funds being in the right place. Taxes might go up, if we knew there were real deficiencies and not padding and waste.
Our tax system is really skewed to hurt people’s living costs and it tends not to grow with the economy. With an honest document from the legislature, maybe we could even pull down any of the reform plans that would make Connecticut more viable and vibrant.
Stewart “Chip” Beckett is the Minority Leader of the Glastonbury Town Council.