To The Daily Sun,
The Wall Street Journal has published recent articles exposing the economic problems in states like Illinois, New York and Connecticut. It claims that one party rule by liberal Democrats has squeezed the middle class through increased spending and taxation, while giving those entrepreneurs and other residents possessing economic alternatives, the ability to relocate elsewhere to friendlier economic circumstances, resulting in low growth economies and tax proceeds for those states.
I grew up in Connecticut and spent 25 years of my career in suburban Chicago. Forty years ago Connecticut offered a tax haven to New York. It had no state income tax and the sales tax was around 5 to 6 percent. Property taxes were considered relatively high.
Today the Legislature wants to raise the income tax to almost 7 percent, the sales tax rate of 6.35 percent may be expanded to most services and contain provisions for municipalities to add an additional portion. The state levies a "death tax" on estates over $2 million and imposes an occupational tax on many occupations including a $565 fee per year on the opportunity to practice law in the State of Connecticut. It is no wonder that at a recent reunion at the University of Connecticut School of Law, many of my classmates lamented that they were losing clients to lower-tax states like Florida.
Illinois is similar. Forty years ago, Illinois levied a 3 percent flat rate income tax rate and the sales tax was around 5 percent. Over the years, Illinois gave "home rule" taxing authority to various municipal levels of government, with the result that the current 6.25 percent state sales tax rate is over 10 percent in the city of Chicago and around 8.25 percent in surrounding counties, plus additional "sin" taxes on alcohol and gasoline. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Legislature raised the income tax rate to 5 percent two years ago to close the budget deficit, without cutting spending and ran out of money the next year. All the while property taxes in Illinois were considerably higher than the national average and it also has a "death tax".
I'm proud of New Hampshire's motto of "Live Free or Die". It symbolizes and emphasizes individuality, self-reliance and the Golden Rule. I'm sick and tired of many on the left who think that ever-increasing spending on big-government social programs is a legislative imperative, regardless of accountability or effectiveness. They also seem to misunderstand simple economics that when you tax or regulate something, you get less of it.
They also seem to misunderstand the role of individual incentives. When the Democratic Legislature raised the cigarette tax five times in fours years by 350 percent, revenues increased only marginally. Now, Republican legislative proposals to cut business taxes to incentivize business and economic recruitment in New Hampshire in a effort to make the State more economically attractive, are met by complaints of favoritism and class warfare.
I want our state to grow and prosper and we need to follow the examples of John Kasich in Ohio and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who each cut taxes, raised revenues and balanced budgets without tax increases. Let's take the shackles off small business and the job creators with a pro growth agenda. Otherwise we risk losing our "advantage" and wind up like Connecticut, New York and Illinois.
Richard R. Gerken
- Category: Letters
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