If we aim to be a leader in restorative justice and providing incarcerated people a real opportunity to re-enter society, we need to make sure they feel like real citizens while in prison.
In 2014, the Department of Revenue Services released a study showing how much Connecticut residents contribute in taxes. The information is illuminating. Earners of $75,000 or less paid at least 14 percent of their income in state and local taxes. Earners of $2 million or more paid at most 6.5 percent. The reason for this inequity? Connecticut relies more heavily on property and sales taxes than other states -– two regressive taxes that hit lower income earners significantly harder than higher income earners.
Legislators and the voting public have consistently been persuaded by a false premise that if we reduce our tax rates on the wealthy and large corporations, our economy will improve. The rationale goes: By decreasing taxes on these two groups, our gross domestic product will increase due to investment in research and development, bolstered business infrastructure, new job opportunities, better pay and improved business climate which welcomes capital. This flawed ideology, touted by Arthur Laffer in his book “The Laffer Curve,” rests on theories that don’t stand up to any level of scrutiny.
I’ve got some bad news. My prognosis for budget negotiations is fairly dire. It is not because the legislature is lazy, or because of political posturing. It is because we do not agree on the problem. Of our tentative $2.6 billion budget deficit, over half is a result of past lawmakers abdicating their responsibility of fully funding the pension obligations. The remainder comes from anticipating significantly more revenue from the income tax than we actually received. While, many of my peers are determining ways to punish the middle class and our state workers, I would like to direct our attention to the wealthy. The ones who have direct access to politicians. Who pay half or less, as a percentage of income, than what the rest of us pay. This, while the top 1 percent of Connecticut income earners obtained 84 percent of the income gains over the last few decades, while the rest of our wages stagnate or decline.
Ask yourself one question: Are you happy with the way things are right now in Hamden? I know I’m not. Six years ago, I moved to Hamden because I saw it as a terrific place to raise a family and start a business. Since then, I’ve laid roots down, am helping run two family-owned grocery stores, and have met many customers whom I soon hope to call constituents. It’s the people I’ve met at my family’s store, Thyme & Season, who have fueled my interest in representing them in the 88th district. I’ve learned a lot about why people are frustrated with local government — and I share those frustrations. IWe need new leadership that will fight for innovative and actionable ideas that will generate revenue for Hamden.