Malloy remains tax increase champ
Hank Aaron is baseball’s career home run leader with 755 (excluding one player from the performance drug era), despite the fact that, in his best season, he tallied only 47, placing him 77th on the single-season record list.
Outgoing Governor Dannel P. Malloy is Connecticut's undisputed career tax-hike leader, and he has a much better single-season record than Aaron. Malloy’s $2.9 billion in career tax hikes place him way ahead of Lowell Weicker, whose $2.0 billion increase in 1991 earned him both second place on the career list and the top position for single-season performance. (See related column.)
But Malloy isn’t far behind Weicker on the single-season list with his $1.95 billion jolt in 2011. Malloy’s next best yearly number was $945 million in 2015, which ranks 5th on the all-time single-year list. (All amounts are adjusted for inflation.)
Notwithstanding this reality, the non-partisan Connecticut Mirror published an article lambasting Connecticut Republicans for making the technically erroneous charge that Malloy is “to blame for the top two tax hikes in Connecticut history.”
Yes, the Mirror is technically correct, but most reasonable people would overlook this technical error in view of Malloy’s big lead in the career ranking.
In addition, Weicker claimed his single season record 27 years ago – no one carries around in their everyday consciousness both the exact nominal number from so long ago ($1.105 billion) and the precise inflation adjustment factor to convert it into current dollars so as to know definitively that Weicker bested Malloy by just $71 million or 3.5 percent to take the top single-year spot.
Likewise, Malloy’s 2015 increase trails Jodi Rell’s fourth-place 2009 number by just $75 million, and the third-ranking single year increase predates the institution of the income tax in 1991. That’s ancient history, inappropriate to consider.
So Malloy comes within a whisker of the first and third single-season rankings of the income tax era.
The Mirror not only accused the GOP of error but implied that it was engaging in a campaign of deception. “As most of us know, if you say something often enough, people will start to believe you. Worse yet, they’ll repeat it,” reads the Mirror piece.
The Mirror was expansive in parceling out reproach. Business and think-tank leaders were fingered for perpetuating “the GOP lie.”
Apologists for Malloy's huge 2011 tax hike point to the enormous deficit he inherited from his predecessor, but consider what Malloy is bequeathing to his successor: a $4.6 billion budget deficit in the next biennium, according to his administration's own projections.
Despite the technical error in the “top two” charge, the GOP is absolutely correct to label Malloy the tax hike record holder of all time. The tragedy is that we’re not talking about baseball, but rather numbers that threaten the very survival of the state. Individuals and businesses are fleeing, having endured constant tax increases under Malloy and, considering his "bequest," seeing no possible end to them for years to come.
Red Jahncke (Twitter: @RedJahncke) is president of The Townsend Group Intl, LLC, a Connecticut business consulting firm.