Connecticut's Income Tax by County

2007IncomeTaxbyCounty

Returning the site to its native form, above is a map of Connecticut’s 2007 Income Tax Revenue by County. The data for the map was taken from the 2007 Connecticut Income Tax by Town (xls), a publication of Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services, which is available via the DRS website. 

The map is a production of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy.

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31 responses to “Connecticut's Income Tax by County

  1. AndersonScooper

    Heath, not fair to link to the Yankee Institute’s map, without linking to their full report.

    How Can You Soak the Rich, When They’re Already Sopping Wet?

    The story of who pays the state income tax is an example of the “80/20” rule: The bottom 80 percent of taxpayers – those filing at under $100,000 – accounted for 20 percent of income tax revenues, while the top 20 percent of income earners paid 80 percent of income tax receipts.

    The top 6 percent of taxpayers – those earning more than $250,000 annually – paid over half of all income taxes. And the top 1.3 percent of taxpayers – those earning more than $1 million per year – paid 35 percent of all income taxes.

  2. Of course, while Litchfield only pays 4.2% of the state income tax… they also only have 5.3% of the state’s population. Middlesex pays 4% of the income taxes, but has 4.5% of the population. And ever mind that the towns paying least in income tax pay the most in property tax.

    This map conceals more than it reveals, I’m afraid.

  3. AndersonScooper

    P.S. Did you know that, (according to the Yankee Institute’s scientific method), if you make $35,000/year in Connecticut, effectively you pay no state income tax?

    Connecticut has a progressive income tax rate, ranging from 3 to 5 percent. But after exemptions and deductions, the 40 percent of Connecticut taxpayers who earned less than $35,000 effectively paid no state income taxes.

  4. Fairfield County’s numbers of 46.8% and maybe a little of New Haven County’s numbers don’t include income taxes paid to NY state, because Hartford doesn’t get those. So when comparing population percentages to taxes paid percentages, you really need to remove the commuters from Fairfield County (and how does this map take into account someone who lives in say Rye and works in Greenwich?).

    I imagine that about 2% to 3% of the population (100,000 people) commutes to New York state, almost all from Fairfield county. 100,000 is about the net CT ridership on Metro North NYC bound minus the reverse commuters, plus an estimate of people in Greenwich that go to Port Chester, and people in Ridgefield, Danbury, and Redding that go to the Harlem line trains (Ridgefield has seven buses a day of people getting on the RR in Katonah, for instance).

  5. Thomas Hooker

    This is really very misleading. In particular, the full report concluded that CT Voices for Children was wrong when they asserted that wealthy Nutmeggers pay little tax. But I recall that CT VFC asserted nothing of the sort. In fact, their study pointed out that effective tax rates for CT wage earners were regressive, resulting in lower- and moderate-income residents paying overall higher tax rates, including all taxes, such as sales and gasoline, while the effective rate for higher income earners was lower.

    Furthermore, though YI only looked at government at the state level, municipal workers outnumber state employees by a three-to-one margin (roughly 62k versus 180k FTE employees), and local governments are funded overwhelmingly by property taxes. If one looks at property tax rates, taxation is highly regressive, with Bridgeport residents paying one of the highest effective property tax rates in the country, while residents of Greenwich pay not just the lowest rates by far in the state, but one of the lowest in the country. Connecticut’s total state and local tax funding is highly dependent on property taxation. But admitting that would have forced Yankee Institute to admit that their “we’re soaking the rich” meme is flat wrong.

    Though Yankee Institute asserts that our income tax rate is “progressive”, it is in only a limited way. They neglect to point out that New Jersey and New York have implemented much more progressive tax rates with 9% rates at the highest levels of income. So YI is being deliberately misleading and dishonest in their study. But it’s not the first time they’ve pulled this sort of stunt.

    A study from YI authored by Dowd Muska compared population growth in Connecticut with the growth in state government spending and concluded that state spending was wildly out of line. But that is a comparison of apples with oranges. If nothing changed but inflation and population, we would still have seen an increase in spending over twenty years well in excess of population growth because of the compounding effects of inflation. And if, as was the case, the economy experiences real growth and people ask for greater services, such as better state-run universities and higher incomes for better teachers, then you have both a real increase and an inflationary component. But either way, comparing government spending only with population is simply wrong.

    Perhaps Yankee Institute would like to highlight the study in Connecticut Economy’s summer issue that found that total state and local government spending as a percentage of the Connecticut economy placed the state 47th in the country. In other words, in only three states in America is spending on government a smaller percentage of the economy than it is in Connecticut. So much for our “bloated” workforce and state government.

  6. This is really very misleading. In particular, the full report concluded that CT Voices for Children was wrong when they asserted that wealthy Nutmeggers pay little tax. But I recall that CT VFC asserted nothing of the sort. In fact, their study pointed out that effective tax rates for CT wage earners were regressive, resulting in lower- and moderate-income residents paying overall higher tax rates, including all taxes, such as sales and gasoline, while the effective rate for higher income earners was lower.

    If I remember correctly, the VFC made an apples-to-apples, oranges, and all other fruit comparison. It’s silly to compare income to income tax, sales tax and property tax, because it draws a false conclusion. For starters, it assumes that people don’t have control over how much sales tax they pay (when they alone control it), or that the high property tax rates are the fault of the state (when cities, typically those that have been held by Democrats since World War II, are solely responsible for those).

    Voters should focus their angst over property tax rates at their local municipal governments, period: John DeStefano’s budget is huge because John DeStefano wants it to be huge.

    Though Yankee Institute asserts that our income tax rate is “progressive”, it is in only a limited way. They neglect to point out that New Jersey and New York have implemented much more progressive tax rates with 9% rates at the highest levels of income. So YI is being deliberately misleading and dishonest in their study. But it’s not the first time they’ve pulled this sort of stunt.

    This comment has nothing to do with anything. If the focus is on Connecticut tax rates, why bring New York and New Jersey (but not job-growing New Hampshire and Texas, wouldn’t want to confuse issues…) into the mix, and how is that “deliberately misleading” or “dishonest”?

    When a child does something stupid and blames his friends for making him do it, a parent’s response is usually, “if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?” That’s what New York, and New Jersey, and California have all done: they’ve jumped off a bridge, and you’d have Connecticut follow. No, thanks.

    Comparing government spending only with population is simply wrong.

    Comparing government spending with GDP isn’t all that relevant, either. Of course, if you want to compare GDP with something, how about tax revenue? The IRS regularly receives between 18% and 22% of GDP in the form of income tax revenue. More simply, no matter what marginal tax rates have been (from 90% to 28%), tax revenue has been substantially constant between 18% and 22%: not even The Messiah can change that fact.

    This begs a few questions: (a) Why increase taxes on the rich, when there will be no net effect? (b) Why increase taxes at all, when increasing GDP is the only sure way to increase income tax revenue? (c) Why wouldn’t we focus on slashing taxes down to the bare bones minimum necessary to maintain the 18-22% split? (d) Does anyone in Congress have a clue?

  7. Thomas Hooker

    Voters should focus their angst over property tax rates at their local municipal governments, period: John DeStefano’s budget is huge because John DeStefano wants it to be huge.

    Mayor DeStefano’s property taxes are high because New Haven suffers from the same flight of the wealthy and middle class that most other American cities suffer, and the same illness as Bridgeport and Hartford. Their tax base disappeared as the wealthier residents headed for the suburbs. Now you know that. Why in the world would you suggest that cities keep their property tax rates high out of choice. You know that is nonsensical, don’t you?

  8. Thomas Hooker

    Comparing government spending with GDP isn’t all that relevant, either. Of course, if you want to compare GDP with something, how about tax revenue? The IRS regularly receives between 18% and 22% of GDP in the form of income tax revenue. More simply, no matter what marginal tax rates have been (from 90% to 28%), tax revenue has been substantially constant between 18% and 22%: not even The Messiah can change that fact.

    In fact, comparing the ratio of government spending to GDP is a basic measure in economics. It is similar in corporate financial analysis to ratios to revenues, or the common size statement using average assets in bank analysis. It is most certainly “relevant”.

    You admit as much yourself when you quote the federal spending figure to GDP. And it is as relevant for state government’s to compare total spending to gross state product as it is for economists and policy makers to use the federal figure to GDP.
    Surely you don’t deny the common usage of that simple metric.

    And let’s avoid the “Messiah” comparison. Recently actor John Voigt appeared before a Republican group and talked about the need to put an end to the reign of this “false prophet”, Obama. I think conservatives should be very careful to avoid language that could encourage crazed extremists like the people who shot up the Holocaust Museum and murdered Dr. Tiller. There’s no need to refer to President Obama as a “messiah”, even in jest, not having seen what’s happening with violent extremism in this country.

  9. Mayor DeStefano’s property taxes are high because New Haven suffers from the same flight of the wealthy and middle class that most other American cities suffer, and the same illness as Bridgeport and Hartford. Their tax base disappeared as the wealthier residents headed for the suburbs. Now you know that. Why in the world would you suggest that cities keep their property tax rates high out of choice. You know that is nonsensical, don’t you?

    From another thread:

    with Democratic registration surging in Greenwich (now 25%versus 37% Republican as of last November)

    Sounds like it’s time for stricter zoning.

    There’s some real truth in that joke. Towns have a variety of ways of preventing low- or middle-income people from moving into their borders. It’s better than old-style segregation and red-lining, but not by all that much.

  10. Mayor DeStefano’s property taxes are high because New Haven suffers from the same flight of the wealthy and middle class that most other American cities suffer, and the same illness as Bridgeport and Hartford. Their tax base disappeared as the wealthier residents headed for the suburbs. Now you know that. Why in the world would you suggest that cities keep their property tax rates high out of choice. You know that is nonsensical, don’t you?

    Your comment makes as much sense as if you had said, “it rained today because it rained.” Bridgeport used to make everything; now it makes nothing. Hartford used to have as diverse an economy as any city in America; now it has a modicum of insurance and the state government, and that’s it. New Haven is left with just Yale. Take a guess why?

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t say that John DeStefano wants high taxes. I said that he wants high spending, because he wants high spending, just like every other Democrat who is figuratively (if not literally) in bed with unions. After all, municipal and state unions are the only unions whose work can’t be sent overseas, right?

    It’s funny, you’ll throw the kitchen sink at Jodi Rell for anything and everything that has happened during her five years of service, but you’re downright myopic when it comes to assigning responsibility for Connecticut’s urban decline to the party that has held power for the vast majority of the last half-century.

  11. And let’s avoid the “Messiah” comparison. Recently actor John Voigt appeared before a Republican group and talked about the need to put an end to the reign of this “false prophet”, Obama. I think conservatives should be very careful to avoid language that could encourage crazed extremists like the people who shot up the Holocaust Museum and murdered Dr. Tiller. There’s no need to refer to President Obama as a “messiah”, even in jest, not having seen what’s happening with violent extremism in this country.

    I didn’t use “The Messiah” in reference to any Republican group… unless, of course, Louis Farrakhan has changed his party affiliation:

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/?pageId=77539

  12. Thomas Hooker

    Your comment makes as much sense as if you had said, “it rained today because it rained.” Bridgeport used to make everything; now it makes nothing. Hartford used to have as diverse an economy as any city in America; now it has a modicum of insurance and the state government, and that’s it. New Haven is left with just Yale. Take a guess why?

    If it were only Bridgeport and Hartford that used to have diverse economies, but lost those industries, I’d certainly agree with you. But it isn’t just Bridgeport; it’s New England and Michigan and Ohio and, for that matter, the entire United States that has seen its manufacturing base disappear. Or weren’t you aware of that? It’s virtually every city in America that has seen the middle class flee to the suburbs, leaving an impoverished shell behind in the inner cities. Or didn’t you know that?

    Yet you accuse me of myopia? You simply cannot make such absurd arguments as this and not be taken for a kook. Seriously.

    …you’re downright myopic when it comes to assigning responsibility for Connecticut’s urban decline to the party that has held power for the vast majority of the last half-century.

  13. If it were only Bridgeport and Hartford that used to have diverse economies, but lost those industries, I’d certainly agree with you. But it isn’t just Bridgeport; it’s New England and Michigan and Ohio and, for that matter, the entire United States that has seen its manufacturing base disappear. Or weren’t you aware of that? It’s virtually every city in America that has seen the middle class flee to the suburbs, leaving an impoverished shell behind in the inner cities. Or didn’t you know that?

    Michigan, Ohio and other midwestern states have indeed lost a lot of manufacturing, much of it related to the automobile industry. But many foreign automobile companies have located in the south. BMW in South Carolina, Mercedes Benz in Alabama, etc. Right now, during this recession, Kia Motors is in the process of opening a plant in Georgia that will employ 2,500 by the end of 2010. So why did Kia not head for Michigan or Ohio, where there are likely thousands of people with actual experience building cars, and instead opt for a small town in Georgia? The answer is unions (while most people focus on the pay that unions demand, the work rules are often also a huge problem), and taxes and business environment.

    Why would any company decide to locate in Bridgeport, New Haven or Hartford now? There are many cities in the south that have friendlier business environments and lower taxes, not to mention much lower costs of living and better infrastructure (traffic).

    I’ve always said that if CT raised its income taxes, people wouldn’t leave en masse. Some would, of course, but I don’t think it’s that many. At the same token, we wouldn’t get many people to move in either.

  14. Thomas Hooker

    Michigan, Ohio and other midwestern states have indeed lost a lot of manufacturing, much of it related to the automobile industry. But many foreign automobile companies have located in the south. BMW in South Carolina, Mercedes Benz in Alabama, etc. Right now, during this recession, Kia Motors is in the process of opening a plant in Georgia that will employ 2,500 by the end of 2010. So why did Kia not head for Michigan or Ohio, where there are likely thousands of people with actual experience building cars, and instead opt for a small town in Georgia? The answer is unions (while most people focus on the pay that unions demand, the work rules are often also a huge problem), and taxes and business environment.

    Let’s keep in mind what the South offers: lots of poor people. South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and other Sun Belt states have lots of poor people willing to work and governments willing and eager to keep them that way by refusing to enforce workplace safety laws and outlawing unionization. Take a look at how horribly dangerous some of those jobs are in the South, like in the poultry or pork industries.

    Though some factories have moved there, American manufacturing jobs have been falling for years. Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota and Illinois still rank among America’s wealthiest states, while Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and other states in the South, despite heavy federal infrastructure subsidies from the Republicans in Washington, still bring up the tail end. And let’s not forget that many of these jobs are simply purchased with taxpayer funds. State governments are paying through the nose to get factories to establish there, in many cases spending millions of dollars to attract them. Does that make economic sense? Should we all get into bidding wars using taxpayer funds?

  15. Adding a bit of simple analysis to this spreadsheet reveals some interesting observations:

    Bridgeport has more returns filed than any other community. Stamford is second. Greenwich is twelfth.

    Greenwich is first in total income taxes paid. Stamford is second. Bridgeport is thirtieth.

    The mean income tax return is $3,641. Fifty towns are above the mean, one hundred nineteen below. Suffield, at $3,643 per return is the closest to the mean, eighty-second in total tax paid and sixty-eighth in number of returns filed.

    With about a half-dozen exceptions or so (towns that include Essex, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Colebrook, Chester) these above-the-mean towns are west of the Connecticut river and close to interstates and major state arteries. The small towns in this group are predominantly in Litchfield County – that is, a drivable distance from Stamford, Greenwich, and New York City. The others are often bedroom communities proximal to smaller centers of employment with better schools.

    This map demonstrates the correlation between infrastructure – particularly transportation infrastructure – and job creation.

  16. Or weren’t you aware of that? It’s virtually every city in America that has seen the middle class flee to the suburbs, leaving an impoverished shell behind in the inner cities. Or didn’t you know that?

    That’s not true. Cities that have clung to 20th Century industries are, well, falling apart. Cities that have chosen to modernize themselves, and diversify their economies, are doing well. What’s the difference between Seattle and Detroit? Hartford and Portland?

    Fun fact: take a look at the ten poorest cities in America and tell me which party has controlled them for the last sixty years. I don’t think you’ll like what you see.

    Let’s keep in mind what the South offers: lots of poor people. South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and other Sun Belt states have lots of poor people willing to work…

    Wow. Poor people who are willing to work. Can’t have that.

    …and eager to keep them that way by refusing to enforce workplace safety laws and outlawing unionization.

    Hold on. Let’s roll back the hyperbole and take a look at facts, shall we? The most dangerous act an American worker does every day is driving a car. Also, what proof is there that a union makes the workplace safer in the 21st Century?

    Though some factories have moved there, American manufacturing jobs have been falling for years. Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota and Illinois still rank among America’s wealthiest states, while Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and other states in the South, despite heavy federal infrastructure subsidies from the Republicans in Washington, still bring up the tail end.

    You’re on a roll! The former states you’ve listed have each successfully transitioned from a primary (e.g., farming) to a secondary (e.g., manufacturing, blue-collar) and now a tertiary (e.g., services, white-collar) economy. The latter ones are just now transitioning from a primary to a secondary economy. Because it became too expensive to manufacture products in the former states, and because their governments did little to maintain a fertile blue-collar environment there, those predominantly middle-class jobs left for the latter states. They’re in the process of moving to Asia, and then probably to Africa. Why? When it becomes easier to perform blue-collar jobs, those jobs will go to where labor is cheapest and easiest. Workers who don’t transition their skill sets are left behind. (Previously, some of the brightest manufacturers in the country were located in Detroit, but it’s simply not very hard to make a car anymore.) The same thing happens to computers, and is now happening to financial and legal services. That’s bad for the respective workers, but good for consumers.

    State governments are paying through the nose to get factories to establish there, in many cases spending millions of dollars to attract them. Does that make economic sense? Should we all get into bidding wars using taxpayer funds?

    It makes sense to the residents of those states (unfortunately, unless you live there, you don’t get a vote), and also to the American consumer. The American auto industry is thriving — just not in a place named Michigan, whose demise was a very predictable result.

    This map demonstrates the correlation between infrastructure – particularly transportation infrastructure – and job creation.

    If that was the case, Bridgeport (which has connections to two train lines, an airport, a deep water port and I-95) would be a bustling metropolis. Besides, Thomas Hooker just said that infrastructure spending was bad.

    The map correlates much better to local property tax burdens than anything else. That’s why DeStefano, Perez, and Finch are failing their cities: they can’t keep their spending in check, which means they can’t keep their property taxes in check, which means they can’t attract jobs. This isn’t hard to figure out.

  17. If that was the case, Bridgeport

    I’ve called on the retail trade in Bridgeport off & on over the past 5 years and it’s been a eye opener.

    Don’t bet against Bridgeport, and it has nothing to do with who’s in office.

    Immigrants don’t wait around for the government they just run right along on their own.

    Bridgeport’s not what you think – it’s much more positive than that.

    Go someplace where a lot of pedestrian traffic is visible and watch the gait; (the body English as it were).
    A substantial number of people in Bridgeport have that positive little bop in their step.

    Not like the head-down shuffling along you’ll see in New Haven.

  18. Thomas Hooker

    Fun fact: take a look at the ten poorest cities in America and tell me which party has controlled them for the last sixty years. I don’t think you’ll like what you see.

    The poorest cities are also the blackest. Do you think African-Americans will vote for a Republican in those cities? The party that gave us the “Southern Strategy”? The party of Trent Lott? The party that has tried repeatedly to dismantle the Voting Rights Act? There are very good reasons why more than nine in ten African-Americans vote Democratic, and why the Republican Party in the South is overwhelmingly white. When more than 90% of its delegates to the Republican National Convention last year were white, do you think inner-city African-Americans in crumbling cities are going to vote in a white Republican mayor?

  19. Thomas Hooker

    Bridgeport’s not what you think – it’s much more positive than that.

    I hope you’re right. I do notice that over half of Bridgeport students drop out of high school. That doesn’t look good.

  20. Thomas Hooker

    You’re on a roll! The former states you’ve listed have each successfully transitioned from a primary (e.g., farming) to a secondary (e.g., manufacturing, blue-collar) and now a tertiary (e.g., services, white-collar) economy. The latter ones are just now transitioning from a primary to a secondary economy.

    Let’s keep in mind that as the transition you point out has been occurring, real per capita wages in America have been stagnant, even falling for middle class Americans, including college-educated workers, while the wealth and wages of the top few percent have been rising dramatically. That is not a successful transition. And if one looks at the rising cost of health care and education that has to be paid out of those stagnant wages, the quality of life has been under pressure. That is why so many middle class Americans are experiencing rising angst about their lives, and fear falling out of the middle class.

  21. Thomas Hooker

    The most dangerous act an American worker does every day is driving a car.

    This is crazy talk. You need to get a grip.

  22. Thomas Hooker

    That’s not true. Cities that have clung to 20th Century industries are, well, falling apart. Cities that have chosen to modernize themselves, and diversify their economies, are doing well. What’s the difference between Seattle and Detroit? Hartford and Portland?

    Great! All an American city needs is Microsoft and jet aircraft manufacturing (which is heavily dependent on military orders). Hartford has clung to 20th century industries? Insurance and the financial industry are passe now? Miami is at the cutting edge of international trade and transportation with Latin America, yet it’s one of America’s poorest cities. As industry- and now software and other services- has left America, we’ve begun to struggle. A friend of mine, a highly trained software specialist, just lost his job to an Indian in Bangalore as his American company closed its American operation and shipped its work to its Indian operation where wages are much cheaper.

    Where does it end? If highly educated engineers are being fired just like skilled American factory workers, how does the economy move forward? Again, per capita real incomes have not risen, except for a tiny minority, in decades. Is it simply because mayors like DeStefano want to spend a lot on their cities? Is it the fault of union members? Or is there more to it than that?

  23. This is crazy talk. You need to get a grip.

    Oh, it’s crazy, all right.

  24. [D]o you think inner-city African-Americans in crumbling cities are going to vote in a white Republican mayor?

    If they’re sick of poverty, yes.

  25. If they’re sick of poverty, yes.

    Maybe they don’t like the overwhelming scent of racism that continues to waft from the right.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/16/tennessee.email/index.html

  26. bumbershoot

    Stop The Presses! Rich people pay more when taxes are levied according to wealth! Big news!

  27. http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/16/tennessee.email/index.html

    Don’t compare what passes for Republican in Tennessee as anything to do with CT

  28. Stop The Presses! Rich people pay more when taxes are levied according to wealth! Big news!

    Psst. Rich people would pay more with a flat tax, too, and that would actually be fair.

  29. bumbershoot

    Umm…dude: CT’s income tax IS flat at 5% for income above $10,000.

  30. primusinterpares

    And ever mind that the towns paying least in income tax pay the most in property tax.

    Most in percentage or dollar amount? This is important because those who pay the lowest percentage property taxes often have expensive property so that low percentage of property tax may be high in dollar value. So essentially the tax automatically (democratically) adjusts for cost of living requirements.

    Fairfield County’s numbers of 46.8% and maybe a little of New Haven County’s numbers don’t include income taxes paid to NY state, because Hartford doesn’t get those. So when comparing population percentages to taxes paid percentages, you really need to remove the commuters from Fairfield County (and how does this map take into account someone who lives in say Rye and works in Greenwich?).

    Very valid point. However, I think this highlights the need for the state to incentivize those executives who live here to move their businesses here from wherever they may be. New York is nice and all but Connecticut could really explode business in downtowns from Stamford to New Haven with diminishing long term tax incentives for any companies that move from New York. We need to break the chains of New York.

    Voters should focus their angst over property tax rates at their local municipal governments, period: John DeStefano’s budget is huge because John DeStefano wants it to be huge.

    Mayor DeStefano’s property taxes are high because New Haven suffers from the same flight of the wealthy and middle class that most other American cities suffer, and the same illness as Bridgeport and Hartford. Their tax base disappeared as the wealthier residents headed for the suburbs. Now you know that. Why in the world would you suggest that cities keep their property tax rates high out of choice. You know that is nonsensical, don’t you?

    Towns have a variety of ways of preventing low- or middle-income people from moving into their borders. It’s better than old-style segregation and red-lining, but not by all that much.

    Again, high rates don’t mean high dollar values. Ultimately, it is the people and the Mayoral administration who need to take responsibility for the state of their city. If the problem is as you stated, that the wealthy have left the city, then the city should be looking for ways to resolve that issue. The fact is that each town in Connecticut is chartered by the state as a unit to be independently and democratically self governed by its people… especially since home-rule. Zoning restrictions can and do have a vital role to play in local governance because as we all seem to clearly understand without explicitly stating it – effective taxation and town services require the proper proportion of wealthy residents and poorer residents. Which means that if you believe in small governments that are truly democratic, and that can provide the caliber of services that big government could never compete with, it means that the rich and poor need to be more intermingled. But the burden is not only on the wealthy towns to do this but also on the poorer cities to invest in building long term property value.

    Why would any company decide to locate in Bridgeport, New Haven or Hartford now? There are many cities in the south that have friendlier business environments and lower taxes, not to mention much lower costs of living and better infrastructure (traffic).

    Let’s keep in mind what the South offers: lots of poor people. South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and other Sun Belt states have lots of poor people willing to work and governments willing and eager to keep them that way…

    Well, this is interesting. Have you ever actually been to the South? My father lives (and still works) in Georgia, in a larger city near the Alabama border. Define “poor.” What you mean to say is that the cost of living is lower in the South and that people are not as materialistic. Just because someone is content living in a 2 bedroom ranch and makes 40k a year doesn’t make them poor. They probably live in a 100,000 dollar house and have two kids, live in a town they like, and are doing a job they are grateful to have.

    I don’t understand your argument about the racist and oppressive governments in the South. So far if I parse the many different parts of your argument together, you’ve argued that the flight of the wealthy has caused revenue problems on the local level. You accept the fact that city officials have been overwhelmingly Democratic and that cities in CT are overwhelmingly black/minorities. Sooo, the Democratic party comes to power in almost every city 60 years ago and since then they have lost jobs and wealthy residents, crime has increased, and state dependence has increased. And you think the Republicans are interested in keeping minorities poor? If minorities were rich then more of them would be Republicans, if you follow liberal logic. Thus, wouldn’t the Republicans benefit from making minorities rich and Democrats from keeping them poor? What do you suppose are the Democrats’ motives to get people off of government dependency and make them rich, since they keep moving away when that happens and not voting for them?

    This map demonstrates the correlation between infrastructure – particularly transportation infrastructure – and job creation.

    If that was the case, Bridgeport (which has connections to two train lines, an airport, a deep water port and I-95) would be a bustling metropolis. Besides, Thomas Hooker just said that infrastructure spending was bad.

    The railroad and deep water port did make Bridgeport a bustling metropolis at one point. The things that changed that were the other things you mentioned, highways and airports. The advent of airfreight, the decline of industrialism and the expanse of the city beyond the traditional boundaries due to highways created special taxation problems in Connecticut and New England due to our small municipalities and weak or non-existent county government.

    The airport at Bridgeport should have been expanded to an international airport that could also handle freight and the deep water ports at Bridgeport and New Haven should be upgraded to a full intermodal facility like Port Elizabeth, NJ connected to highways, rail, and air. This could then also be an intermodal facility for auto, rail, air, and sea travel for passengers traveling to and from Connecticut and New York and THEN Bridgeport and likely New Haven would in fact be bustling cities again.

  31. primusinterpares

    Great! All an American city needs is Microsoft and jet aircraft manufacturing (which is heavily dependent on military orders). Hartford has clung to 20th century industries? Insurance and the financial industry are passe now? Miami is at the cutting edge of international trade and transportation with Latin America, yet it’s one of America’s poorest cities. As industry- and now software and other services- has left America, we’ve begun to struggle. A friend of mine, a highly trained software specialist, just lost his job to an Indian in Bangalore as his American company closed its American operation and shipped its work to its Indian operation where wages are much cheaper.

    What we need is to reduce the tax burden on small businesses and provide incentives for people to go into business for themselves. In the early 1900’s most people worked for themselves, today most work for others. A diverse, stable economy full of small businesses is much better for an economy than a handful of cluster industries like insurance and healthcare and finance. Clusters are important but should be the secondary strategy to building the strength of an economy because if clusters collapse you are left with massive unemployment (see: Michigan) you’d think we’d have learned this lesson in Connecticut since the industrial revolution came and went… but still not.

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