Riverside resident, former BET member and (of course) Democrat Town Committee member Sean Goldbrick has been filling the local liberal rags recently with his demands that the wealthy and middle class be taxed to extinction: here, and here, so this (excerpted) op-ed column from one of Goldbricks' targets seems apt.
I am a born-and-raised Connecticut Yankee. I have been extremely fortunate to have lived the American dream. When I was 18, I left my parents' apartment in New Haven with two plastic suitcases, not a cent to my name and a dream. Through hard work, a fine education at UCLA and some luck, I began my career in investments in New York City. Twenty-five years later I retired a rich man — many would say extremely rich.
The question I keep asking myself is why should I stay in Connecticut? About 10 years ago, I had 25 to 30 super-wealthy friends here. Today, all but one has moved, most to Florida for tax reasons. I've been retired for 16 years — within the next two years, I will be an empty nester — and I am looking for a residence outside our state.
In fact, in March, I signed with a real estate agent to put my Darien home up for sale in May. When I die, and we all do, should I be thinking of what the costs will be to my heirs? I believe I have a responsibility to give them what I can and am asking myself a few questions.
First, as an American, have I paid my fair share? I think most objective people would say yes, as all my money was earned and taxed as ordinary income at the highest marginal tax rates (50 percent in all). When I die, another 40 percent (federal estate tax) of the remainder will go to the government and 12 percent to Connecticut up to $20 million paid. I have used the one-time gift exemption that the federal government allows.
So, over my lifetime, for every dollar that I earned, saved and wish to give to my heirs, I will have paid 76 percent to some government entity and my heirs will get 24 percent.
Is that not paying your fair share?
I can honestly say it never bothered me to pay my taxes. I'm proud to be an American and thankful that I had an opportunity to compete in such a great country. Nonetheless, I would like to leave as much as possible to my heirs.
I have read that it is better to give my wealth away than to die with it. Those familiar with the tax law understand why this is so. When you give money (more than $14,000 a year) to others there is a federal gift tax of 40 percent. Connecticut, however, is the only state in America that [also adds] a gift tax, which is 12 percent.
To be the only state that has a gift tax for its extremely wealthy citizens is paramount to erecting a huge sign that reads, "We don't care if you leave our state. Go!" How much net revenue is raised by the gift tax vs. the loss of tax revenue when your wealthiest residents leave?
Wealthy people have options, especially mobility. If I sell my Connecticut home, move to any other state and then make gifts of my wealth to my heirs, I save them millions of dollars. My super wealthy friends call this the "free move." You can move out of Connecticut and the gift tax savings more than offsets the cost of the move and the new home purchase. Why wouldn't anyone do this?
The vast majority of my very wealthy empty nester friends have done this and others in the same position will move when the time is right. It is simply too high a price to stay.
.... Connecticut politicians seem wedded to their simple strategy of, "Let's keep raising taxes on the remaining corporations and the wealthy so they can all pay their fair share." This one-trick pony only works for so long and, I might add, when you put on too much weight, even a strong pony collapses.
David DeLucia lives in Darien.