Statements espousing thinly veiled threats from hundred billion-dollar corporations that the proposed state tax increases are “truly discouraging”’ and that General Electric would “seriously consider whether it makes any sense to continue to remain in Connecticut” are not to be ignored.
We the people have a choice before us, one that asks us to choose the economic principles fundamental to the type of society we desire to create and live in.
Do we truly aspire to a continued increase of corporate coddling and giveaways through tax breaks paid for by taking from 99 percent of us to give to the 1 percent of the richest corporations in the world? Should we continue subsidizing the profits of billion-dollar corporations while Connecticut families remain unable to afford food, shelter, healthcare and other necessities? Should people who seek higher education continue to suffer crippling debt in order to do so?
Some will argue that we must seriously consider the possibility of these corporations leaving our state because if they do, it will result in the loss of Connecticut jobs. In case some remain unaware, the current job market is one in which for far too many people it is not possible to find sufficient employment or employment that offers more than poverty-level wages.
We have reached our current dire situation by operating under principles largely guided by the very corporations currently threatening to abandon us when asked to pay an equitable tax rate commensurate with the profit they are able to accumulate through the support and safe operating foundation to which we all contribute.
The recent public threats by corporations such as GE and Aetna have succeeded in their intent by striking fear deep into the hearts of some. To those who have responded to these threats with fear I ask, do you propose we maintain the practices lobbied for by GE and Aetna by continuing to double down on the economic principles which have created our current, historically unequal economic system — a system which features inequalities so vast they are only rivaled by the vast inequality of our Gilded Age?
Creating a strong, sustainable, and less unequal economy is only achievable if billion- dollar corporations pay an equitable tax rate commensurate with their profit. An economic system that allows those currently living paycheck to paycheck a better chance to become financially secure will also allow more people a better chance to become secure enough to be able to afford the products of the companies currently threatening to abandon our state!
I applaud those in our state government who have worked in this year’s budget negotiations to make progress in tackling Connecticut’s current massive inequalities. If what we seek is a stronger economy and a stronger Connecticut then we cannot go backwards, we must tax billion-dollar corporations at a rate that will allow us to enact and pay for economic-strengthening policies such as raising middle class wages and continuing to raise our minimum wage proportionately with inflation and commensurate with what Connecticut families need in order to afford basic necessities.
For those who would argue against a higher tax rate on our state’s billion-dollar corporations in favor of inequality-lessening practices, such as further increases in Connecticut’s minimum wage, I posit that food stamp programs, families becoming homeless, healthcare costs when an individual’s small health issues are not dealt with due to unaffordability causing them to explode into massive costly procedures later in life, burdening people with lifelong debt, having a poorly educated populace, and paying to house massive amounts of people in jail cells costs our state’s economy, our small businesses, and every single individual taxpayer exponentially more than implementing a policy such as a higher minimum wage capable of lifting people out of poverty and into the middle class, as it once did.
Even though GE and Aetna may disagree, asking them to pay their fair share towards the lessening of inequality and using funds wisely and efficiently to serve those most in need of economic support is not only morally correct, but is also excellent economics.