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Beating Back The Budget Deficit

by Jeff Vella | Jan 28, 2009 7:00am
(7) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Cartoons

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(7) Comments

posted by: Doug | January 28, 2009  8:57am

Really does seem futile, doesn’t it?

posted by: iBlog | January 28, 2009  11:52am

Gee, is it really that tough?

All you need is a pen and a spine.

Here’s the formula, as developed by Einstein in June, 1937, while having his hair done:

“Either increase revenue or cut services”

Here’s Einstein’s next extrapulation,

“Raise taxes on the state’s most financially secure residents to pay for services to help the state’s least secure residents.”

Einstein, quite the spiritual fellow, then added these notes (in the margins of his 8-month-old People Magazine:

“This is the Golden Rule.  This is a Mitzvah. This is Good Karma. This is Huvarshta.  This is human kindness.”

posted by: Doug | January 28, 2009  1:38pm

Not that easy, iBlog. Every time you cut services you put people out of work as well. And raising taxes on anyone is dicey at the moment, including the wealthy, since one can argue that they’ve been hit the hardest by the recession and the Wall Street collapse.

Here’s a paragraph from another CTNJ story: “Outgoing Sen. William Nickerson, R-Greenwich, said the way in which the state originally structured the income tax made it highly volatile, especially in light of the current crisis on Wall Street. He said nearly 50 percent of the state’s income tax revenue comes from 70,000 people in Fairfield County, many of whom work on Wall Street. These individuals were hit hardest by the national economic crisis.”

I’m all for taxing the wealthy more than the rest of us, but when a situation like this comes along, it leaves us in a mess.

One thing I think the state might benefit from is a complete revamping of the way it keeps its books. The wholesale gas tax, for instance, should have never been set as a percentage. It makes it impossible to predict revenue, and allows for an egregious tax increase each time the price of gas goes up. Taking the “per” off the “percent” in that tax will even out the revenue stream and start to restore faith in the general assembly.

I would imagine they can’t balance the books on making that just a 7 cent tax per gallon. But the percentage just doesn’t work.

posted by: iBlog | January 28, 2009  3:17pm

Doug,

Hmmm . . .

Barack Obama promised a progressive income tax hike for those making over $250,000/yr and won overwhelmingly in Connecticut.

Compared to other states, Connecticut’s combined state and local revenue is a small share of the state’s personal income. Connecticut ranks third lowest (48th) among all states in its “own source” revenue (combined state and local taxes, fees, charges and other miscellaneous revenues) as a share of its total personal income.

That is, only TWO states have a smaller share of their total personal income going to the taxes, fees and other charges needed to pay for publicly-funded services and programs—from education to transportation.

Following the Bush and Rowland tax breaks, upper-income CT residents are paying a lower percentage of their income in taxes than at any other time in US history.

I feel for ANYone who has been hurt by the economic crisis.  But having to give up a European vacation, or sell the second house, is NOT in the same league as going without heat in the winter - or losing your ONLY home to foreclosure.

And of course, the services the state could pay for with increased revenue - health care, housing, fuel assistance, etc. - would be available to ANYONE truly in need.

posted by: Doug | January 28, 2009  3:45pm

Well you’re preaching to the choir… I’m guessing that a lot of folks who made more than $250,000 in 2008 won’t be making more than than in 2009, but like I said I’d be guessing. I’m sure it’s not that cut and dried—that they’d only be giving up a European vacation. I’d like to think it’s that simple, but you and I both know it probably isn’t.

Hey where’d you get those “own source” revenue figures? Very interesting. I’d love to see that broken down.

posted by: iBlog | January 30, 2009  11:44am

Doug,

See the report: “Public Investment for a Mediocre Future: Where Connecticut Stands On State and Local Revenues” by Shelley Geballe, J.D., M.P.H. at

http://www.ctkidslink.org/publications/bud08wherectstands.pdf

posted by: Doug | January 30, 2009  2:13pm

thanks iB