This November is a good time to challenge both candidates for governor — Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski — to support an incremental increase in the Connecticut income tax rate for themselves, their wealthy neighbors and our over 10,000 Connecticut families who earn in excess of $1 million a year.
Stefanowski’s average annual income over the last three years was $12 million! Governor Lamont’s gross adjusted income for three of his first four years in office totaled nearly $26 million — mostly from interest and dividend income!
I am a member of FairShareCT, one of over 60 community/labor/faith-based member organizations of Recovery for All, an advocacy organization pushing for legislation that would provide immediate relief to struggling working families and generate billions of dollars in shared resources by requiring the wealthiest among us to contribute a bit more for the common good.
In 2018, 38% of Connecticut’s nearly 1.4 million households, many of them living well below the federal poverty level, could not afford to pay for their basic needs. During the pandemic their struggle has only gotten worse, while our wealthiest households have become even wealthier.
Connecticut is the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world. The sad facts are that the United States has the greatest income tax disparity among developed nations, and Connecticut has the fourth highest income disparity in the United States and its territories. We can do better. We must.
Connecticut’s wealthiest residents can easily pay a fractional share more, tax-wise. It will not affect their standard of living or their future security. The income raised can be targeted to help those 1.4 million households afford decent housing, utilities, adequate healthcare, food, and transportation. For them it will make all the difference in the world.
Let’s urge our legislators, in the 2023 General Assembly, to act! To do the right thing. Thousands of Connecticut lives will have a huge burden lifted as a result.
Courtney Bourns lives in West Hartford.