Tax avoidance by part-time residence is costing us

The Connecticut income tax is, as it should be, an important subject for the gubernatorial candidates to discuss and to describe their preferences, e.g., repeal, modify, nothing. One item that is not being discussed is the fact that Connecticut residents — I don’t know how many or much is involved — are able to avoid paying any Connecticut income tax by declaring residency in another state — Florida, for example, that does not have an income tax.

An inexcusable and costly failure to fund juvenile review boards

For years, legislators sang the praises of juvenile review boards, because community-based JRBs helped kids succeed more frequently– and more cheaply – than the juvenile justice system. But when the General Assembly moved juvenile justice from one state agency to another, it neglected to move the funding for JRBs that serve our largest cities. That means fewer second chances and fewer essential services – mainly for young people of color and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our state frequently cannot find the money to support these youth, though the funding for the more expensive strategies of prosecution and even incarceration is never in short supply.

Arts and culture must be on the next governor’s agenda

It is obvious that arts and culture keep our towns and cities hopping and vital, especially when you see restaurants filled on nights that theater, museums and galleries have events. Our elected leaders understand how important arts, culture and creativity are for building strong communities. Candidates are also learning that over 90 percent of Connecticut’s arts and culture supporters vote. With this year’s gubernatorial election in high gear, as well as many other legislative races, it’s important that we hear from the candidates on these issues, particularly as Connecticut’s funding for arts and culture has continually declined, bucking the national trend and while surrounding states are increasing their investment. This is a missed opportunity to have a real impact on our state’s economic health, our education system, and quality of life.

On Hamden’s tragic fiscal decline

Twenty five years ago Hamden was a healthy, thriving town with generally happy residents. Taxes were manageable, schools were good and the town had excellent services. Town workers were fairly paid and got great benefits, particularly top-notch, town-funded health care and a generous defined-benefit pension plan. The Hamden real estate market had its ups and downs but was as strong as most in the area. Unfortunately, decades of miss-management and union commiseration have reversed the town’s strong prognosis.

Income equality, not inequality, that won out in 2016

I have long suspected that the statistics used by progressive advocates to complain about income inequality in America were either flawed or misrepresented. In the June 25 edition of the Wall Street Journal an opinion piece co-authored by Phil Gramm, a former chairman of the Senate banking committee, and Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., a professor emeritus in economics at Auburn University, bore out my suspicions.

More millionaires than ever in an ever poorer state

“The US economy is creating new millionaires at an astonishing rate… more than five times the growth rate of the population” and Connecticut is at the forefront of this trend.  Since 2004 the number of state tax filiers reporting annual income over one million has grown by over 3,000 and we have more billionaires than ever. Encouraging as this may seem, all the new wealth has not reversed a decade of economic contraction. Higher paying manufacturing jobs have been outsourced, replaced by jobs paying much less and this exchange has taken its toll. Connecticut has a smaller economy today than it did in 2004.

Three key tax reforms to help make Connecticut more fair

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.

Can Connecticut’s economy be fixed ?

Connecticut’s economy has been stagnant now for two decades. Employment remains at 2000 levels and a major exodus of jobs, firms and residents is underway. How can this have occurred for the nation’s wealthiest state sandwiched between the two modern high-tech industrial powerhouses of Boston and New York City?

Blaming the unions is a convenient distraction. Don’t fall for it.

I am a proud union member from a union family, and a lifetime member of the United Auto Workers union.  In the mid- to late 80s I remember walking picket lines with my father and the union workers at Colt Firearms as they endured one of the longest strikes in Connecticut history. Today we are still reaping the benefits of the sacrifices that were made by so many union members willing to stand together united for a just cause.

Kids in the juvenile justice system have fallen through budget cracks

In the last minutes of the 2018 legislative session, we got a state budget. Legislators showed commitment and determination in reaching a bi-partisan agreement. The dust hasn’t cleared yet — there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding what got funded and what didn’t. It is all too evident, however, that even dust-settling won’t clear away a fundamental reality. Children have fallen through system cracks due to a failure to plan and budget appropriately to meet the behavioral health needs of children in and at risk for being in the juvenile justice system.

UConn Health must correct ‘blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars’

Over the past few months, multiple situations have come to light unveiling a pattern of failures at UConn Health that have severely damaged the public’s trust in your institution. We have seen blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars, failure to implement basic oversight, and apparent disregard for your core responsibilities to the state and people of Connecticut. I am writing today to ask UConn Health to commit to rebuilding public trust.