Lawmakers Seek To Increase Taxes To Tackle Income Inequality

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The legislature’s budget-writing committee wants to use an increase in taxes on the wealthy to help pay for tax breaks for the poor and moderate income. But not everyone believes it will address income inequality. 

“Connecticut has had racial and economic disparities for some time. The pandemic didn’t create it. It’s just illuminating it,” Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford) said. 

At a pro-tax demonstration this weekend, Gilchrest said she’s hoping to address those disparities through the state budget.

“For a fair budget that seeks to address the wrongs of our past and bring greater equity to our state,” Gilchrest said.

State Rep. Brandon McGee (D-Hartford) said that increasing tax credits will help move the state in the right direction. 

“Putting money back into the pockets of low and moderate income workers through EITC and reducing the tax burden on families with children,” McGee said. 

But using the tax code to fight income inequality is not easy and it’s not cheap. 

“The Democrats even say our budget is in a strong position, but yet they continue to look at the middle class wallet as the solution to every single one of the state’s problems,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said

Kelly said tax increases are not the solution.  

“It’s time when we have a budget in strong position. When we have a surplus in the budget and we have billions coming from Washington. It’s about time we gave middle class taxpayers a break,” Kelly added. 

Rep. Sean Scanlon who co-chairs the finance, revenue, and bonding committee said increasing the child tax credit and using taxes on the wealthy to pay for an increase in credits for low-income residents will help address the issue. 

“I think the tax changes that we are proposing this year, are going to be what might be the difference between somebody sliding back further and further and continuing to make that progress,” Scanlon said.

But Gov. Ned lamont doesn’t believe a tax hike is necessary. 

“I see no reason to raise taxes to raise taxes when we’re going to show that we have the resources to get the job done,” Lamont said. 

Lamont, who is currently negotiating the budget with legislative Democrats, doesn’t want to raise certain taxes. 

“We have a $3 billion-plus in our rainy day fund. This is no time to be talking about needing to raise taxes when we really ought to be focused on investing the money that we have to make the biggest difference in people's lives,” Lamont said. 

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