Want to fix infrastructure? Stop state's corporate welfare.

We need to talk about how Connecticut politicians squander our hard-earned tax dollars on welfare. Yes, welfare – but not the way you normally think of it. I’m talking about welfare for the well-connected.

Connecticut has handed out $4.8 billion in corporate welfare since it enacted an income tax, the vast majority since 2013.

We wouldn’t even be talking about tolls if this money had been spent on infrastructure. The $4.8 billion spent on corporate welfare is equivalent to 25 years of toll revenues from the governor’s proposed trucks-only tolls.

Did you know that the state gave United Technologies $400 million to stay in Connecticut only to have them leave for Massachusetts a few years later?

Who else has the state bribed? Well, Walt Disney, Lockheed Martin, UBS, Marriott and CIGNA to name a few. During the Malloy administration Connecticut gave welfare to over 1,500 companies.

And, we might wonder about why the largest award under the Small Business Program went to the West Indian Social Club of Hartford?

Perhaps more importantly, these bribes don’t even work. It’s not just United Technologies exiting stage left. A recent study by the Yankee Institute shows that people earning over $1.1 billion moved out of the state between 2017 and 2018. We continue to lose businesses and workers to states with more attractive tax and regulatory policies.

Who suffers? All of the businesses that don’t participate in this corruption and all the citizens that would have started businesses but decided not to or left the state to do it elsewhere, all the people who would have gotten jobs if these new businesses had been started or expanded, and of course − the taxpayers.

Why do we need to bribe companies to do business in Connecticut? Simple, because the tax policies and regulations drive businesses to better climes.

The Constitution exists to provide for the GENERAL welfare, not the politically chosen welfare. It’s business as usual for our legislators and governor to violate the XIV Amendment.

I’m calling on Governor Lamont and the state legislature to stand on the principal of equality under the law and defund and abolish the Department of Economic and Community Development.

We have the money for infrastructure, and we don’t need tolls.

James Miller, a resident of Lyme, was an investment banker at Merrill Lynch from 1984 – 1996. He wrote this op-ed for The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org). Copyright 2020 © The Connecticut Mirror.



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