My home state of Connecticut will be having a Republican gubernatorial primary this coming Tuesday, August 12, to determine who will challenge Democrat incumbent Dannel Malloy. Mr. Malloy cannot say no to taxes and has not made any improvements on the deficit, job creation, or the state economy since he was elected four years ago.
The race includes the favorite; a man named Tom Foley, whose spotty past and lack of political experience cost him an election against Malloy four years ago. The dark horse is State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, the son of the late Stew McKinney, a well-respected U.S. Congressman for two decades. As of right now, the Quinnipiac University poll shows that Foley could defeat Malloy, but that McKinney falls short. John McKinney and his preferred Lieutenant Governor choice David Walker, a CPA who has served as Comptroller General of the United States, bring something to the table that could drastically change the mood of the Nutmeg State voter if they can get the word out. They want to repeal the state income tax for individuals and families making less than $75,000 per year.
In 1991, I fought our independent governor, the former Senator Lowell Weicker, who continued to bully both branches of the General Assembly to put through a state income tax and he eventually won the battle. The same state income tax that cost 1970 Republican candidate Wallace Barnes, who my grandfather believed was the best choice for governor that year, the nomination over Thomas Meskill, who served one term as governor from 1971-75. Barnes promised to abolish the sales tax in return for this income tax, but the people were skeptical and feared we would pay both taxes. They were right. Connecticut reduced its sales tax from 8% to 6% when the income tax became the law of the land, but began applying it to more things such as labor on auto repairs (not just parts as before), shipping and delivery charges on mail order goods, and car washes. Three years ago, the state sales tax was increased from 6% to 6.35% and Connecticut still has the highest per capita debt in the U.S. A similar ordeal took place in California when they implemented a state income tax in the mid 1960s prior to the election of Ronald Reagan. They income tax went through and California sales tax was raised from 6% to 6 ½% I have to say I admire Mr. McKinney’s initiative. But I do have some questions.
First of all, why stop at $75,000? When it comes to states and their finances, Connecticut is way off the bell curve. Families with combined husband and wife incomes just over $100,000 are struggling as prices on the so called gold cost are higher than ever. Leading into the second of all, why not just completely abolish the state income tax? It obviously did not keep our ink black in the post-Weicker era; proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that no taxation plan can keep the ink black if spending is out of control. I know the 1% will benefit just as much as the 99% with no income tax at all, but the 1% can give more to charities and wealthy business owners can create both blue collar and white collar jobs. Third of all, Peter Paul Candy and Colt Fire Arms are not coming back and Connecticut will never be the career Mecca it was in the 1980s. I have said over and over again, Connecticut needs to be small-business friendly and give incentives equivocal to what New York State is doing to allure start-up businesses. Those who graduate college in a field of choice should be able to do what they set out to do in their own small business if they cannot hook up with corporations who were driven out. Being a small business owner in Connecticut sounds a lot more appealing than living in North Dakota, which is where talk show host Sean Hanity claims the tech jobs will be in the next ten years. Alas, where is the small business incentive on the McKinney-Walker plan?
I have not made up my mind as of this blog entry. I may very well make the bold move and vote for Mr. McKinney this coming Tuesday. I would just like a better understanding of his concept of the New American Dream versus mine. Even if we don’t match, I may still consider him the best man in the race. I just want a little more exposure and disclosure.