For a minute let’s set aside Connecticut’s desperate need for a budget that gets us off the deficit rollercoaster and celebrate the legislative successes of this session. These are the kind of bills that can help turn Connecticut around. Two bills (Senate Bill 191 and House Bill 5764) cut red ...
Among the troubled roots is Connecticut’s inability to sufficiently reduce spending, which has hurt the state’s fiscal health. In the most recent fiscal health analysis put out by some of the nation’s most reliable economic researchers, Connecticut shows vast room for improvement. In the Pew Charitable Trust’s research titled Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis, Connecticut did not fare well compared to its neighbors. Of particular note is the state’s depleted reserves; Connecticut’s reserves would allow the state to operate for a projected 8.3 days.
Connecticut is naughty both for energy policy and energy prices. According to the Pacific Research Institute’s most recent 50 State Index of Energy Regulation, Connecticut has a lot of work to do. The state’s regulatory scheme ranks 47 in the country. The Index measures the regulatory burdens placed on consumers and producers of energy by each state, ranking them accordingly.
The unfortunate consequence of Connecticut’s policy choices is that children who are born and raised in low-income households face daunting challenges and, research shows, have trouble overcoming them. While Connecticut’s overall student performance appears strong (87% graduation rate), the achievement gap betrays the truth; upper class families boost overall numbers and urban youth are left stranded in poor educational environments.
When it comes to taxes, Connecticut is just plain naughty. The state’s personal income, corporate income, sales, and property taxes are all among the highest in the nation. Additionally, to fuel a multi-decade habit of reckless spending, Connecticut burdens both individuals and businesses with all sorts of fees, surcharges, and the like. It would be nice if lawmakers and public officials worked to control spending enough to enact a nicer tax code.
When Governor Dannel Malloy admitted that the state’s recent trend of raising taxes wasn’t working, and that economic growth was necessary, it signaled a shift in attitude toward the right direction. How to foster economic growth should consistently be a factor and goal in any public policy debate or legislative issue. The state needs revenue, but by chasing revenue through tax increases, it has actually chased people, and revenue, away.