... [T] he Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, whose members include many towns with Republican administrations, is planning to propose raising the sales tax by half a percent and dedicating a full point of the tax to financial aid to municipalities. This would offset the cuts in municipal aid the governor is expected to propose, as if municipalities should not have to obtain concessions from municipal employee unions.
Presumably CCM's idea would enable legislators to tell their constituents, "We raised the sales tax so your property taxes wouldn't go up," as if their constituents wouldn't be taxed more either way by taxes that are largely regressive, with the only real beneficiaries being municipal government employees escaping concessions.
Legislators have reason to fear the state and municipal employee unions. But legislators are dolts if they cannot explain to their constituents that since most state and municipal tax revenue is spent on compensating government employees, the choice with state and municipal taxes is always simply whether taxpayers should suffer a pay cut so government employees can get another raise.
Besides, to get more money municipalities don't need an increase in the sales tax and a dedicated share of its revenue. For municipalities already have their property tax, which they can raise on their own. CCM's sales tax scheme is just another mechanism for shifting the cost of municipal employees to state taxpayers so such costs are harder to identify and restrain.
With enactment of binding arbitration for municipal employee union contracts in 1975 and, in 1986, enactment of binding arbitration for state employee union contracts and the Education Enhancement Act, which drove teacher salaries way up, Connecticut has had 40 years of public policy premised on the enrichment of the government class and the forfeiting of control over its compensation.
Throughout this era state government has been sustained by several huge tax increases and by diverting money that should have gone into the state employee pension fund.
But enriching the government class has enriched only the government class. Since enactment of its state income tax in 1991 Connecticut has been declining steadily, and despite that tax increase and the others, state government is broke.
Now Connecticut has nothing to do but strive desperately to subordinate the government class and unfix its "fixed costs" -- or die.
Chris Powell: a thinking man's liberal. I remember those, I just didn't think there were any left.