Gov. Ned Lamont, our sturdy and steadfast champion against COVID, is unfortunately not quite so heroic on economics. Coming from Greenwich, he has imbibed the local Kool-Aid about taxes. This means he has absorbed the propaganda that a 2% increase in the tax rate on incomes over $1 million a year will send the wealthy scurrying to Arkansas and Tennessee to avoid such confiscation.
In fact, the wealthy probably would not even notice the change if their accountants didn’t bring it up at annual review time. We are indebted to President Trump for coining the term “Fake News” to describe this “fleeing” fantasy.
In practice our prospective plutocrats most often come here in U-Hauls while young and vigorous. They work hard and creatively, gaining stature and wealth and grow deep roots in the community. There are the hospital board, the museum presidency, the Chamber of Commerce awards, the kids’ private school, the reserved table at the club, the chairmanship of the house of worship, the zoning commission, the marshal of the Memorial Day Parade, the cemetery plot. Do you think Mr. Big Bucks is going to leave all that because of a tweak in the top tax rate? Not a chance.
OK, if he has Reynauds Syndrome like some of us and thus suffers especially from the cold, he may risk the flooding and the Trumpies and move to Florida. For this he will call Mayflower, adding to their outbound statistics. But Mayflower doesn’t measure the young folk coming in. Returning to Connecticut in 1965 all my earthly belongings were in the back of the car. Consequently, Mayflower’s statistics on who’s moving are deeply flawed.
So, governor, we think you are dealing commendably with the virus, and you saved us from a junior Trumpie in your own election, but on taxes you could use a reeducation camp. You are welcome to move to Norwalk. We will set you up with a whole new welcoming society featuring roots into our wide spectrum of wealth and poverty. There you could wade knee-deep in Connecticut’s real diversity. You’d love it. And no Kool-Aid.
Bill Collins is a former Norwalk mayor and state representative.