Governor Ned Lamont's proposed budget doesn’t include a plan to increase the state income tax to help cover a $3.7 billion projected budget deficit, and that has some watchers and stakeholders wondering about the state of income inequality in Connecticut.
Appearing on Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live, Sal Luciano, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said that Lamont's proposal to eliminate the gift tax and reduce the estate tax ensures that Connecticut's wealthiest residents will pay even less in taxes.
“If it's going to be shared sacrifice, it needs to be "shared sacrifice", not another way to funnel money to the people who already have plenty of it,” Luciano said.
Luciano is disappointed that Governor Lamont is seeking concessions from state labor unions as part of his budget proposal, with no plans to ask more from the state's wealthiest residents. Still, he said he will work with the Governor to find cost savings within the existing labor contract, like ways to lower the cost of health care for state employees.
Keith Phaneuf, who reports on the state budget for the Connecticut Mirror, said Connecticut has a progressive income tax structure designed to ease the burden on Connecticut's poorer residents. Still, low income residents still manage to get taxed way more than wealthier residents, once you figure in other state and local taxes.
“If you make 48,000 dollars or less in Connecticut, one quarter of all your money goes to just state and local taxes,” said Phaneuf, “if you make 600,000 dollars a year, it's about 7 percent. The property tax, which the state still sets up and the local towns collect it, clobbers the poor far more than the state income tax takes it easy on them.”