Connecticut used to be one of the go-to places for escaping state income taxes.
But in 1991, Governor Lowell Weicker hatched the novel idea of burdening Connecticut residents with the same direct tax on income with which Americans have been saddled in so many other states. Despite the deep unpopularity of his proposal, Weicker rammed it through. That meant sacrificing any chance at re-election. But he was hailed as a hero by all fans everywhere of government bloat and flattened economies.
The Constitution State has indeed suffered a flatter economy in the years since. The Yankee Institute points out that since 1992, Connecticut businesses have hired no new workers on net. Even as the country added more than 20 million jobs. Over the last decade, Connecticut suffered a net loss of some 113,000 residents. If your tax policies tell productive people to get lost . . . they do.
Connecting the dots between higher taxes and stalled growth may be easy for most graduates of Economics 101. Even most politicians probably grasp the connection. But many just don’t care.
In 1991, residents were told that the income tax burden would never exceed 4.5 percent. But in 2001, it jumped to 5 percent. Now the current governor, Jodi Rell, wants to hike the top rate to 6.5 percent.
What the . . . Rell? Folks aren’t leaving the state fast enough for you?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.