The pandemic has been tough especially for health care workers and those at the lower end of the income scale. Some lawmakers and labor unions believe it’s time to increase taxes on the wealthy.
“What we saw was that the people at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum were the ones who suffered,” Rob Baril, president of SEIU District 1199, said.
Baril said the union wants the state to increase the income tax to help improve the pay for health care workers who have sacrificed so much.
“We call them essential but we’re treating them as sacrificial lambs,” Rep. Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) said.
The group gathered at the state capitol Monday wants to increase Connecticut’s income tax to 9% for individuals who make more than $500,000 a year and 13% for those who make $1 million per year.
“There have been 300,000 jobs lost in this state since this pandemic has started and we still have 200,000 people that are not employed,” Porter said.
They also want to create a Billionaire’s Pandemic Fair Share tax and tax 20% on profits and wealth gains made during the pandemic.
“We’re dead last in the nation both in personal income growth and also job growth. And that falls squarely on the kitchen table of economics of middle class families,” said Republican State Sen. Kevin Kelly of Stratford.
In 2017, two years after the last income tax increase, revenue from Connecticut’s top 100 taxpayers was down 45% and personal income tax revenues were down $450 million from projections.
“We’ve reached a tipping point in connecticut that when you tax individuals the government actually has less revenue,” Kelly said.
Kelly said the billionaires own second homes and they can easily leave the state.
“The working middle class family of connecticut doesn’t have a second home, has grown roots and can’t move so when the democrats tax the 1 percent and the 1 percent leave they don’t make a corresponding cut to the budget to reduce the loss of revenue,” Kelly said.
Democrats like Rep. Jillian Gilchrest of West Hartford disagreed.
“I’d like to see a more equitable tax structure in the state so if that does mean raising some taxes, yes, I’m open to that,” Gilchrest said.
Democrats like Sen. Saud Anwar of South Windsor also favors a tax increase.
“The ones who did well should take care of the ones who did not do well,” Anwar said.