- Lower state taxes for most CT families while increasing state funding for education and municipalities.
We can increase state funding for education and municipal aid while decreasing taxes for most Connecticut families by rolling back tax breaks and slightly increasing taxes on the very wealthiest Connecticut families.
I will introduce legislation to decrease taxes on income under $100,00 and increase taxes on income more than $300,000 which will increase overall state revenue. A 0.5% increase on income more than $300,000 in combination with an additional 0.5% increase on income more than $1 million would generate more than $300 million a year in state revenues. Wealthy individuals would still have the lowest state income taxes in the tri-state area. Furthermore, deducting these taxes from federal taxes provides about a 30% rebate. These tax alterations are fair because CT experienced the greatest increase in the income gap between rich and poor of any state during the past decade. The bottom 20% of CT families lost 19.4% of their income, the worst of any state. The second lowest 20% of CT families lost 5.8% of their income, the second worst of any state. The top 20% of CT families gained 21.2%. The top 1% more than doubled their income. These tax changes would offset only a small percent of the increased income disparity in Connecticut which occurred during the last decade.
We can save $225 to $400 million a year by ending some of the sales tax exemptions and tax credits characterized as expedient (without rational justification) by the CT Office of Fiscal Analysis. During the 90's CT's corporations enjoyed 1.2 billion in new tax breaks. As a result corporate taxes as a percent of total revenues fell from 19% in 1991 to 7% in 2002.
- Reduce Property Taxes
I will introduce legislation to increase state funding for education. This will lower property taxes by decreasing the need to fund education from property taxes.
I will introduce legislation to increase state funding for municipalities like New Milford. This will lower property taxes by decreasing the tax burden to be funded from property taxes. New Milford lost $158,000 in state aid in the 02-03 budget according to the non-partisan CT Conference of Municipalities. This resulted from Clark Chapin's opposing, and Rowland's vetoing, a 1% surcharge on income over $1 million to balance the budget.
I will introduce legislation that would allow municipalities to levy impact fees on the developers of new residential subdivisions to offset the cost of new infrastructure construction (schools, police stations, sports fields, etc.) resulting from additional residents. This new source of income would allow further reductions in property taxes. At least 17 states successfully employ impact fees to lower property taxes and encourage long term municipal planning.
I will introduce legislation that would allow municipalities to levy a real estate conveyance tax on new residential development to purchase open space in conjunction with matching state funds. The purchase of open space will decrease future property tax increases caused by the failure of property taxes on new homes to meet the school and municipal expenses associated with them. Real estate conveyance taxes to purchase open space are being successfully utilized in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
I will seek state funds, federal funds and foundation funds to assist New Milford in developing clean industry and tourism. This will decrease property taxes by increasing the industrial and commercial tax base.
I will advocate for a new Housatonic River Museum in New Milford in conjunction with a greenway along the Housatonic River to increase tourism. This will decrease property taxes by increasing the commercial tax base.
- Lower Health Care Costs
I will introduce legislation that would enact comprehensive health care insurance for all CT residents. The State of CT predicts this legislation would save more than 1 billion dollars in health care expenses due to decreased administrative costs and purchasing medications in bulk. The cost of health care insurance for the average CT family would be reduced. The health care delivery system would be unchanged. The administration of the insurance program would be directed by a trust composed of health care advocates, health care providers, taxpayers and elected officials.
Until CT passes universal health care insurance I will support health care legislation that would decrease health care costs and expand insurance coverage. For example, I support legislation to decrease medication costs by the bulk purchasing of medications for all CT residents. Similarly, I support legislation to allow small businesses and the self-employed in CT to purchase health insurance through the state employees health insurance pool.
- Strong Environmental Health Legislation
I will call for a CT DEP study of mercury toxicity in the Still River and introduce legislation to remedy this problem. The Still River is severely contaminated with mercury from the Danbury hatting industry.
Regulate emissions from commercial waste incinerators to restrict cancer causing agents (dioxins), toxins to the nervous system (heavy metals), and pollutants known to cause asthma and other respiratory diseases. Incinerators are the #1 cause of dioxins and heavy metal pollution in CT.
Hartford, the site of the most incinerators, has the highest incidence of asthma in the United States.
Decrease cancer causing and asthma producing emissions from diesel fueled vehicles by conversion to natural gas or use of low sulfur fuels with a catalytic converter-eighty percent of Yellow Cabs in Hartford have already done this.
Decrease cancer causing and neurotoxic pesticide use by mandating that commercial pest control companies notify neighbors before applying pesticides. Such a law has significantly reduced pesticide application and significantly increased the use of non-toxic alternatives for pest control in NY State.
I will introduce legislation to mandate that CT state agencies buy fuel efficient vehicles when existing vehicles need to be replaced. This will reduce toxic emissions and encourage fuel efficiency.
I will introduce legislation to implement a spill reduction program for toxic industrial chemicals based on the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) in Massachusetts- the nation's most effective pollution prevention law.
- Corporate and Governmental Responsibility
Three Strikes And You're Out, For Corporations. I encourage the full investigation and prosecution of corporate irresponsibility and criminal activity in the state. I advocate that CT corporations convicted of three counts of criminal activity have their charters revoked.
I will submit legislation to ensure that all corporations that do business with the state provide health insurance and a living wage.
Accountability. I will submit legislation to ensure that all corporations who receive public funds for job creation account for how that money is spent and the results of those expenditures. If the goals are not met, the money must be returned.
- Reduce Traffic Congestion
The best way to reduce traffic congestion is to fund public transportation, such as trains, buses, and light rail. That is what I will do.
We need regional planning to enable smart growth and inhibit suburban sprawl.
I support the purchase of open space to limit new homes and additional cars.
- Empower Democracy
Enact same day voter registration which has been shown to substantially increase voter participation.
Pass a clean election law that allows for the public financing of elections, as is done in Maine, Vermont, and other states. This will enable the average citizen to run for political office, furthering political debate.
Instant Runoff Voting- This system stops the "spoiler problem" associated with third party candidates, ensures that the candidate most acceptable to the voters wins, and is associated with the highest voter turnout internationally.
Make Election Day a State Holiday or Saturday to improve voter participation.
Mandate a state web site providing the voting record of all elected officials.
Equality in lobbying practices. Under the current law, corporations can lobby using pre-tax dollars while citizens can not. I will submit legislation to right this injustice.
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