When President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in January 1981, he famously remarked: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” For lack of a better statement, that is the best way to describe the current situation in the state of Connecticut.
While every state has its own problems, what makes Connecticut’s issues unique is that many of them are self-inflicted by the state government’s incompetence.
One of the biggest issues in Connecticut is the inability of state officials to manage the budget properly. In a report released by the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the state of Connecticut is projected to be in “over a $1 billion deficit” starting in the fiscal year of 2022 and ending in the fiscal year of 2024. What this means is that for the next two to four years, the state will see more money being spent than coming in by one billion dollars. Mathematically, this presents two options: cut down on spending or find an additional source of income for the state. Like most politicians, the government of Connecticut prefers the second option.
On paper, it makes some sense for officials to try to find another way to make the state money, given its recognition as one of the richest states in the country. However, this becomes an even greater issue for Connecticut for two reasons.
The first is that the label of a “rich state” is often misleading, since it only refers to the average income across the entire population of a state, not how much a middle class household can expect to earn if they lived there. So in effect, this label is a better measure of how many wealthy individuals live in a state and how much their incomes can inflate the “median income” statistic.
The second reason is that the middle class in Connecticut is not large enough nor given enough opportunity to generate enough money to satisfy both their own endeavors in the market economy and the government’s demand for more tax revenue. According to a report by Smartasset, Connecticut is ranked 46 out of 50 in terms of middle class opportunity. This low ranking can best be attributed to the middle class making up only 39.5% of households in the state, coupled with middle class job growth actually shrinking by 2% in 2018.
In fact, one of the reasons why there is no middle class job growth in Connecticut goes back to this issue of state politicians deciding to increase taxes as opposed to decreasing spending. Some of the taxes that best illustrate this issue include the income tax, toll tax, and the ‘notorious’ plastic bags tax.
Connecticut has the second highest income tax in the country, according to a report by CNBC on data collected from the Tax Foundation. This tax is self-explanatory, although in a sense of irony, this comes after residents of the state of Texas voted to abolish its income tax entirely.
Additionally, Governor Ned Lamont and the state legislature are in the process of implementing statewide tolls in order to pay for some infrastructure improvements. According to the governor, the tolls would only apply to trucks, not average residents making their commute to work. However, by implementing this plan, the state establishes the infrastructure to easily toll all other drivers if and when the truck-only plan fails to generate enough revenue for the state.
Moreover, in a bid to be more ‘environmentally friendly,’ the state recently banned all use and sale of plastic bags at marketplaces in favor of paper bags which are taxed for every bag a customer uses. This is arguably the most interesting method to tax residents of Connecticut considering that paper bags require the cutting down of trees in order to be produced, which is not so environmentally friendly.
Ultimately, Connecticut’s issues stem from budget mismanagement, causing state politicians to resort to excessive taxation. This abundance of taxes forces both businesses and individuals to move elsewhere in hopes of finding a better life for both themselves and their families. As long as this continues, Connecticut will continue to fail its citizens because, as President Reagan pointed out many years ago: the government is the problem.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.