Shared Sacrifice? Try Unfair Sacrifice

by LonSeidman

Rep. Rob SampsonBy Rob Sampson

Many of you know that I sought public office because I was concerned about the direction in which our state and national government are headed—both continue to grow, compounding the burden faced by taxpayers who just can’t afford it.

Here’s one thing I learned on the campaign trail: In my opinion, an alarming number of residents pay little attention to what happens in the state legislature—the branch of government that, arguably, has the greatest impact on our lives.

I believe that’s about to change because Connecticut residents now live under a new reality, one that will have us not only pay more in taxes, but more for the goods and services that are integral to our daily lives. The two-year budget approved by Gov. Dannel Malloy and legislative Democrats took effect last week, bringing with it the biggest tax increase in state history: a staggering $1.8 billion in hikes and new levies.

There’s no doubt that folks in Southington and Wolcott, the towns I represent, will be as upset as I am when they see their paychecks shrink—thanks to a retroactive income tax increase. Particularly when they learn that this budget, which I opposed, actually increases spending by more than $1 billion while creating a $560 million surplus.

I expect that Connecticut taxpayers will soon turn an eye toward the folks who represent them in Hartford, and I certainly welcome that scrutiny.

Here’s a synopsis of the Malloy tax increases that could affect you most:

INCOME TAX The governor’s restructured tax bracket imposes a broader, deeper search for revenue that will hurt middle class families. A married couple (a police officer and a teacher, for example) will face a substantial tax increase retroactive to January! This cements Connecticut’s unfortunate status as the most taxed state in the nation.

SALES TAXES The tax you pay on everyday items, such as clothing, will increase from 6 percent to 6.35 percent. The governor said Connecticut “is open for business,” but high-end retail shops and the people who work for them will suffer when fewer customers walk through the door—an anticipated result of a new 7 percent tax on many expensive cars, boats and jewelry.

PROPERTY TAX INCREASES Families under stress from increasing property taxes once found solace in the $500 property tax credit, but that’s gone away. The governor slashed the maximum credit by 40 percent, essentially imposing a $200 tax increase on folks who simply can’t afford it. Gov. Malloy balanced his two-year budget by counting on $2 billion in unionized employee concessions—before employees actually agreed to givebacks. State employees recently rejected the concession deal, and the governor has warned he could cut state funding to cities and towns to help fill the gap. Consequently, local officials could be forced to increase your property taxes to balance their budgets.

CORPORATION TAX SURCHARGE Connecticut has lost 100,000 private sector jobs yet the governor doubled this surcharge on large employers to 20 percent. The state lost another 2,900 jobs in May, and analysts say Connecticut will be among the last states to see an improved job market. With policies like this, it’s no surprise. And, of course, higher corporate taxes will trigger higher prices for the goods and services we use.

OTHER TAXES The governor taxed goods and services never taxed before—from fabric to non-prescription drugs. He increased the diesel fuel tax, and hiked taxes on beer and alcohol. A manicure will cost you more. Yoga classes, too. His budget increases estate and real estate taxes while imposing a tax on Web retailers, causing them to sever their partnerships with locally-based businesses owned by our friends and neighbors.

I didn’t support this budget or any of these new or increased taxes. My Republican colleagues and I offered an alternative balanced budget plan that didn’t increase any taxes at all while reducing government spending by $1.5 billion. Many taxpayers viewed our proposal favorably, but the governor and his colleagues all but ignored it.

These new, controversial taxes will create a less stable economic climate as families and businesses struggle to readjust their already tight budgets.

I contend that it’s time for the governor and majority legislators to adopt the “common sense” approach residents use in their households and businesses.

I will keep fighting that fight as long as I’m in Hartford.

Rep. Rob Sampson
Southington, Wolcott

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