Poor Rich Taxpayers

GOP leaders say the rich are paying a bigger percent of taxes

As lawmakers battle over a budget and whether to increase taxes, some state Republicans don’t want the state budget to be funded on the backs of the rich. They are already giving the state more than its fair share, GOP officials say.

Four of the state’s wealthiest towns are paying 25 percent of all the income tax the state collects, the Hartford Courant reports – and 14 percent of it comes from Greenwich alone. We have 169 towns in total.

In Greenwich, residents paid an average of nearly $29,000 in state income tax per return, while the average Farmington taxpayer pays $5,410 per return, the Courant reports.

In exchange for contributing a quarter of the tax revenue, the wealthiest towns get a small sliver from the state in educational money for public schools, the Courant reports.

"We get back less than 1 percent of the money we send to Hartford," Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, a business executive who is in his first year as a state senator, told the newspaper.

Shelley Geballe, a Democrat and co-founder of the liberal Connecticut Voices for Children, says there is more to the whole tax issues and we must consider income, sales and property taxes that residents pay. The middle class, she says, pays a higher percentage of its income in overall taxes than the wealthy, so the rich should pay more than they do.

"The people in the top 1 percent — both before and after the federal tax deductions — are paying a far smaller share than the bottom 80 percent," Geballe said.

Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a conservative group, looked into taxation and issued its own report stating residents living in Fairfield County paid 46.8 percent of state income taxes in 2007 and Connecticut taxpayers earning more than $250,000 annually -- the top 6 percent -- pay more than the bottom 94 percent.

Matt O'Connor, a spokesman for the state employee unions, said the tax issue is simple.

"We just need to raise rates on the wealthiest in Connecticut," O'Connor said. "Despite what the Yankee Institute claims in its most recent study, the wealthy in Connecticut are doing pretty good. The Greenwich hedge fund manager is certainly seeing lower numbers on his balance sheet, but he still has the second home on Long Island and the vacation home in the south of France and the fleet of cars. He's still living large."

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