Pouring Salt On The Nutmeg State's Wounds

If politicians elsewhere take Robert Kuttner's advice ("If Connecticut could do it, why not . . .," Economic Viewpoint, Sept. 16) and pursue the Connecticut approach to fiscal finance, then God help us all!

Theory suggests that the progressiveness of the new income tax makes it more "equitable"; but if equity has anything to do with people, then there is a problem. A poll released on Sept. 7 by Quinnipiac College shows that only 31% of state residents feel the new tax system distributes the tax burden more fairly than the old system. The sales tax was reduced from 8% to 6% but will be applied to a greater variety of goods than ever before. The "tax relief to corporations" was so minimal as to be a local joke, and property taxes continue to rise. Still unable to balance spending with revenues, the legislature is currently discussing an across-the-board increase in fees that may go a long way toward offsetting the progressiveness of the income tax.

Steven R. Cunningham

Assistant Professor of Economics

University of Connecticut

Storrs, Conn.

What kind of progress is represented by a system in which private-sector employees work 70-hour weeks to support public-sector employees working 35 hours? What kind of progress is represented by a system in which the private sector must eliminate raises and lay off employees to survive, while public "servants" are completely insulated from the effects of recession?

Why did our leaders decide to embark on the largest program of highway spending in the state's history, while eliminating the tolls that could have paid for it? Why did our leaders allow the number of state employees to grow by over 21% from 1980 to 1990, when the state population grew by less than 6%?

The camel's nose is deep inside our tent, and we'll never be able to keep the rest of the beast out.

Iain H. Bruce

Westport, Conn.

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