New England's Illinois: Connecticut's Budget Mess Shows That States Can't Tax Themselves to Prosperity

Dems want higher taxes on e-cigarettes, cellphone bills, vacation homes, hospitals, cigarettes, hotel rooms, Uber, nonprescription drugs, and fantasy sports.


Ingram Publishing/Newscom

Even in deep blue Connecticut—one of just six states in the country where Democrats control both halves of the state legislature and the governor's mansion right now—the suggestion of a $1.8 billion tax increase has incited a political revolution.

Three Senate Democrats and five Democrats in the state House bailed on a plan to impose an array of new taxes, including a 75 percent wholesale tax on electronic cigarettes and other vaping products that likely would have killed dozens of small businesses in the state. The budget plan proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy also would have hiked taxes on cellphone bills, vacation homes, hospitals, cigarettes, hotel rooms, ride-sharing services, nonprescription drugs, and fantasy sports gaming, the Hartford Courant reported.

Coming on the heels of two of the largest tax increases in state history—lawmakers raised taxes by $1.5 billion in 2011 and then hiked them by another $1.2 billion in 2015—seems to have been too much to ask.

"How do you come out with a multi-page budget with all these tax increases and keep it secret from your membership and expect you're going to get everybody in line in a couple of hours? It's a ludicrous thought," Senate Republican leader Len Fasano, R-New Haven, told the Courant. "People are tired of taxing."

He seems to be right. Republicans, long in the minority in the Connecticut legislature, have made big gains in recent years by opposing tax increases in Hartford. Last week's drama seems to suggest that state lawmakers, too, are getting tired of taxing, or at least are getting tired of the political consequences of it.

"Yes, I may be risking my political career," said state Sen. Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield, on Friday, announcing his intention to vote against the Democratic budget plan. "My party may not be happy with me. But to be honest, I don't care."

If it were true that a state could tax its way to prosperity, Connecticut should be on a non-stop winning streak. Instead, state lawmakers are battling a $3.5 billion deficit. Companies including General Electric, Aetna, and Alexion, a major pharmaceutical firm, have left the state in search of a lower tax burden. Connecticut is looking increasingly like the Illinois of New England: A place where tax increases are no longer fiscally or politically realistic, even though budgetary obligations continue to grow and spending is completely out of control. In fact, on a per capita level, Connecticut extracts more—about a thousand dollars more—from its residents than Illinois does, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's data on state taxes.

The Republican budget plan, which passed the state Senate Friday with those three Democratic defections, relies on a mix of common sense changes and some wishful thinking. It would impose a 10 percent cut on some state government budgets, would impose a hiring freeze for many state government positions, and would cut funding for higher education. Much of the savings would be bankrolled by future changes to public sector workers' pension benefits, hardly a political certainty. [Update: The budget bill cleared the lower chamber with a 77-73 vote Saturday.]

The GOP plan makes "makes important structural changes," said Carol Platt Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute, a free market think tank based in the state, who applauded the three Democrats who broke ranks to support the Republican budget. "We echo their sentiments that Connecticut deserves a budget that makes the changes necessary to put Connecticut on a better path."

Malloy says he will veto the budget if it reaches his desk, according to the Associated Press.

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  1. …state lawmakers are battling a $3.5 billion deficit.

    That’s a strong indicator that you haven’t been taxing hard enough. To get in a hole like that, your citizens have to have been hoarding money left and right. You just have to find it.

    1. Presuming those parsimonious citizens had to right to it in the first place. After all, they did not build that.

      1. I’m making over $12k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,…Go this web and start your work… Good luck..

        1. Well you obviously don’t live in Connecticut.

        2. Well you obviously don’t live in Connecticut.

        3. Well you obviously don’t live in Connecticut.

        4. Well you obviously don’t live in Connecticut.

        5. Well you obviously don’t live in Connecticut.

          1. You can say that again.

  2. Who in their right mind would want to move to Connecticut?

    1. Who in their right mind has not left Connecticut decades ago?

      1. The more pertinent question is: What millionaire Wall Street type with a house in Connecticut and another in Florida wouldn’t declare himself a Florida resident?

        Answer is: None

        Those earlier tax hikes were on the richest people in the country. All it took was a trip to a Florida DMV to go from some of the highest state income taxes in the country to none.

        Losing GE and Aetna has spooked the hell out of the politicians who assumed they would have those cash-cows around forever.

        1. “The more pertinent question is: What millionaire Wall Street type with a house in Connecticut and another in Florida wouldn’t declare himself a Florida resident?”

          CA, at the behest of Meathead, instituted a sur-tax on those with incomes Over $1M/annum. Any guesses on which actors now spend 6 months and one week at their Jackson Hole abodes?

          1. I left CA 23 years ago. Even back then, half the vehicles in the neighborhood had Nevada or Utah plates.

          2. Any guesses on which actors now spend 6 months and one week at their Jackson Hole abodes?

            Ha, a couple years ago there was an episode of House Hunters that featured Eric Christian Olsen from NCIS: Los Angeles and his wife shopping for a house there.

            That residency status probably explains why Teton County consistently votes blue every election now.

            1. Wyoming citizens hate that Jackson is full of so many Californians.

              1. Good; fuck them. Californians hate the lower 49 and only go there to flaunt our superiorty

            2. Libtard logic : let’s move from leftist high tax hell hole to a low tax haven, then vote in leftist politicians who will enact high taxes.

      2. Sigh….

    2. Among other things, they have depressed storm drains. There are signs on major roads about it. If a state is so bad that the storm drains are depressed, I don’t want to spend a second longer there than absolutely necessary.

      1. I’m surprised more storm drains there aren’t suicidal yet.

  3. Hopefully, the Republicans will gain a majority over the Democrats because of opposing tax increases. Then when Republicans try and raise taxes on their agenda items because they have the majority, Libertarians will gain a majority over Republicans because of opposing most if not all tax increases.

    1. Try to, not try and.

      And I’d be surprised if there were 100 people in CT who called themselves Libertarians.

      1. Nah, lc is just assuming they’ll actually do it – they’ll try to raise taxes AND they’ll succeed at raising taxes.

        HeroicMulatto is in Connecticut, isn’t he? I think he’s pretty much it, though.

        1. I though HM was up in New Hampshire not far from Zeb. I could be wrong though.

        2. I lived there for a few years and worked there for over a decade. It’s the worst.

        3. Always hoping people come to their senses.

      2. Try and not be one of those fuckin’ grammar nazis.

      3. $park? leftist poser|9.18.17 @ 12:49PM|#
        Try to, not try and.

        Normally, I am fine with people pointing any mistakes that I make. In this case, the grammar that I used is more conversational and guess what forum comments tend to be? Hint: not formal.

        To your other point, there are more than 100 Libertarians in CT.
        registered LP voters

        Instead of being wrong at so many things, try attention to detail.

        1. the grammar that I used is more conversational

          That’s the pretty standard excuse dumb people use.

          there are more than 100 Libertarians in CT

          I live in MA, I know how likely it is for any New England state to go Libertarian.

      4. Hey… I’m here!

  4. who knew nutmeg causes stupidity…

    1. Nutmeg is a psychoactive substance if you eat enough of it. Unfortunately, the dose at which you start tripping is substantially higher than the dose at which you start explosively vomiting. I, uh, heard.

  5. “The budget plan proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy…”

    That pretty much covers it; the rest of the article, though gratifying, is superfluous.

    1. “Dannel [sic] Malloy

      1. Why [sic]?

        1. From eating too much [nutmeg]?

  6. Connecticut extracts more?about a thousand dollars more?from its residents than Illinois does

    Good news for Illinois — proves that old saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining”, and reinforces another, “It’s an ill wind that blows no good”.

  7. In a sort of related piece, a typical liberal JournoList admits that moving from California to “flyover country” in Indiana has made her happier and changed her life for the better.

    Sadly though, I bet she’ll probably continue right on voting for Obama/Hildog types. This is the part the leftards are too fucking stupid and/or stubborn to ever figure out: that THEY are the ones to blame for the fact that shitholes like California and New York have become so unlivable.

    1. Have you heard of hillarys book? They and their shitty ideas are never to blame.

      I’m in San Jose but if I move out of the area I will continue to not vote democrat

      1. I’m in Fremont and while I won’t move out of my native state, I am looking at Manteca. Then I will be close to the bacon festival in Lathrop.

      2. Exactly the same. Living in San Jose and when I finally get to move (probably New Hampshire) in 2020, I will continue to not vote for Dems or the insane tax increases that seem to pass on every ballot.

    2. Unlivable how? California is still better than the rest of the lower 49 even with the midwestern progs who have relocated here with their, for the most part, fuckable daughters.

      1. Let’s see

        24/7 traffic jams.
        Utterly insane cost of living.
        Rampant crime.
        The highest poverty in the nation.
        Terrible schools
        Among the highest taxes in the nation

        And worst of all it is filled with Californians among the most pretentious self important douche bags ever to use my oxygen.

        1. Actually I should amend that. The urine soaked homeless woman I saw in San Francisco dragging a dirty comforter and screaming random syllables at everyone is not so bad relative to the rest of them

        2. And the crazy thing is, you are actually being pretty generous to the are overall.

          The thing that is most amazing (especially to people like my wife that have lived here their whole life) is that when they encounter just basic, common courtesy at something like a McDonald’s (and I mean a “normal” place like Arizona or even Oregon and not super-downhome-niceness of the south) they are AMAZED at how friendly everyone is.

          I just want to shout, “NO! It’s just that California is full of the rudest, unkind, and self-centered people anywhere!” It is amazing how bad it is (and sure seems to have become worse over the past decade).

  8. RE: New England’s Illinois: Connecticut’s Budget Mess Shows That States Can’t Tax Themselves to Prosperity
    Dems want higher taxes on e-cigarettes, cellphone bills, vacation homes, hospitals, cigarettes, hotel rooms, Uber, nonprescription drugs, and fantasy sports.

    Connecticut also wants to tax turds over six inches…and yes, that does include the two legged variety.

    1. That can’t possibly be true. Politicians would never pass a tax that primarily impacts themselves.

  9. dfhbfdnmm,mbv

  10. New England’s Illinois: Connecticut’s Budget Mess Shows That States Can’t Tax Themselves to Prosperity

    Ah, but *state’s* can – and really, isn’t what is good for the state what is the most important?

  11. If only someone had warned them beforehand.

  12. Never thought I would live to see the day that Conn. would surpass Mass. for a bloodsucking greedy state government.
    Then I thought about it. Any CT resident with half a brain and the ability to do so has left the state. At this point, they should just merge with RI and become an ungoverned no-man’s land like the Western Sahara.

  13. Well they cannot tax their way to prosperity as long as people can move somewhere else. Maybe next is state borders and internal passports. A return to peasantry, tying people to the land would solve all their problems!

    1. Not really; you can’t get taxes from peasants. You need evil capitalists.

  14. Democrats are totally committed to the idea of the redistribution of wealth. In the CNN “debate” last night, Bernie made it clear that he believes we should all pay higher taxes, but we will get free stuff. Seriously? You want to take our money only to give it back after you decide what it will be spent on? This premise also demonstrates the key premise of Democrats, ordinary people cannot be trusted to spend their money on the “right things” so the government needs to take it from them and “spend it responsibly”. Of course, this is the very antithesis of freedom which is why it never works. All you need to do is look at the states who are teetering on bankruptcy year in and year out vs. those who might be forced to cut back when money is tight, but whose economy’s boom when things are going well. Even in tight times, these states, like Texas, do much better than many others because of one key concept, the state government stays out of the way and lets things run as they should in a capitalist system. They do not impose insane, job killing regulations, they do not attempt to tax the working people to death to pay for expanded social programs and do not fixate on how to expand their voting base by giving away the house.

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