General Electric’s decision to move its corporate head-quarters from Fairfield to Boston, sent shock waves through the Connecticut political class. But it isn’t just corporations and billionaires that are leaving to seek new lives and opportunities elsewhere. Connecticut ranks fourth in the nation for people leaving, trailing New York, Illinois and Alaska. For several years, Connecticut has experienced a net loss of population and that is affecting the tax base to the tune of $60 per second. The state’s income tax earnings, which comprise nearly half of the state's revenue, was much lower than expected for fiscal year 2016 and has legislators scrambling to make up the difference.
In 2014, Connecticut made national news coverage with some “interesting” bill proposals such as banning whole milk from daycares to fight childhood obesity and regulating the volume of movie theaters to protect people from hearing loss. Neither of these bills had any scientific backing and thankfully neither were passed. But that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from proposing a new batch of “interesting” legislation that may raise a few eyebrows. Here are some of this years’ strange offerings:
The Connecticut Commission on Economic Competitiveness held a closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss a report on the state's economy based on work from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The commission met at 10 a.m. and immediately went into executive session, removing all observers from the meeting. Commission Co-Chairman Joseph McGee said the executive session would allow the committee to work out all the numbers. “There is a lot of information,” he said.
This week lawmakers on the Human Services Committee will vote on the Working Class Tax, a tax on jobs. This tax would be mean Connecticut employers would have to pay the state $1 per hour for every hour worked by an employee who earns less than $15 an hour. Every job matters in our state, and this tax means there will be fewer jobs, and things like your gas and groceries will be more expensive. We already tax too many things in Connecticut – we shouldn’t tax jobs too.
We were told Connecticut had recovered all of the private sector jobs that were lost during the Great Recession, but new numbers released today show that this is not true. Previously, state labor officials had reported that the state gained 26,900 jobs last year. Today that number was revised down by the Connecticut Department of Labor to 12,200, a reduction of more than half.
Governor Malloy is spending this week in Puerto Rico at the annual Democratic Governors Association meeting and then taking some time off with his family. Puerto Rico is facing bankruptcy and looking for a federal bailout. Years of poor fiscal policies, government cronyism, overreach and interference in the free market has left the island-state with high unemployment and crippling debt. Hopefully the policy lessons of Puerto Rico’s struggles will not be lost on the governor. The island may be pretty but the economic challenges it faces - like Connecticut’s - are pretty ugly.