connecticut taxes

Q&A: Why Do Low and Middle-Class CT Residents Pay Higher Taxes

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A new Connecticut Department of Revenue Services study came out yesterday about tax incidence and shows that Connecticut's low- and middle-class residents pay more in taxes than the wealthier residents do.

NBC Connecticut's Jane Caffrey spoke to Rep. Sean Scanlon, co-chair of the finance committee about what this means.

Here is the study.

JANE: "Sean, I think if you asked anyone in Connecticut, regardless of their income status, they would say their taxes are too high. A WalletHub survey last year ranked Connecticut as the second-worst in the country for taxes. So, let's get to the bottom of it. Why are our taxes generally so high here?"

REP. SCANLON: "Well, I think the report that was issued today showed that there is a disparity between those at the top and those at the bottom and the middle in terms of how much they actually pay in taxes. And it's shocking to read that in Connecticut, people who are poorer and middle class actually have a higher tax burden than those who are millionaires. And our committee is about to hold a hearing on that report next week. And we hope to be able to do something about it to actually make the tax code fairer for people here in Connecticut."

JANE: "When it comes to the personal income tax, the brackets are set up in a way that someone making $199,000 is paying just 0.5 percent more than someone who's making $50,000. Do you think that's an issue?"

REP. SCANLON: "I do think it's an issue, and I don't think it's fair. This has been something we've known about for a long time, or it's been rumored to be known about it for a long time. But now we have the hard data. And with that hard data, I think we have to take action to make that tax code fair so that a bus driver is not paying higher taxes than a billionaire."

JANE: "One of the recommendations in this report is to analyze the tax policy based on socio-economic factors, things like race and gender. What do you think this would show?"

REP. SCANLON: "Well, it certainly would show that people of different races and genders are being impacted differently in this, but I think what you know, from this report is that regardless of who you are or where you live, if you make a certain amount of money, you are being disproportionately taxed compared to other people. And that's a problem I can get. And if we want to make Connecticut more affordable, if we want to make Connecticut the state where people want to move to and raise a family and start a business, it can be an incredible thing for us as a state to actually change our tax code to make it friendlier for people so that people do want to stay here and do want to move here."

JANE: "And what would you like to see when it comes to Connecticut's taxes? Do you believe reform is necessary?"

REP. SCANLON: "Reform is absolutely necessary. And what I want to see is us to actually lower the taxes on the middle and working class to make Connecticut more affordable for them. My committee, the finance committee, is hearing a number of bills this year to do just that. The governor has proposed some tax decreases, and we certainly support that conversation. But we have to work on this together, Democrat and Republican, to make Connecticut more affordable. This report has given us all the evidence we need to know about the problem. Now it's time for us to act."

JANE: "Representative Sean Scanlon, thanks so much for talking with us."

REP. SCANLON: "Good to be here."

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