New Study Finds Tax Policy Drives Connecticut’s Ongoing Fiscal & Economic Crisis

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

BOSTON – Multiple rounds of tax increases aimed at high earners and corporations triggered an exodus from Connecticut of large employers and wealthy individuals, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

“It’s no coincidence that the state’s ongoing economic struggles have corresponded with a string of experimental tax hikes,” said Greg Sullivan, who co-authored “Connecticut’s Dangerous Game: How the Nation’s Wealthiest State Scared Off Businesses and Worsened Its Fiscal Crisis,” with Andrew Mikula.

Over the last quarter-century, Connecticut has endured a series of budget crises. To cover ballooning costs, the state enacted sharp tax increases, including four income tax hikes in the last 20 years that caused the top rate to jump by 77 percent.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said that the tax increases “totally disadvantage the state,” noting that it already has “some of the highest income tax rates in the country and we pay a price for that.”

In recent years, Connecticut has increasingly turned to high earners and large companies to close budget gaps, doubling a surcharge on large firms, establishing and then increasing a tax on luxury goods, and raising the income tax for the state’s highest earners.

The results have been disastrous. From 2008 to 2020, the state placed 49th among the states in private sector wage growth. In just the last couple of years, General Electric and Alexion Pharmaceuticals both moved their headquarters to Massachusetts. The flight of jobs has in turn affected existing homeowners, and before COVID-19, property values in wealthy Fairfield County were still 18 percent below their 2006 peak.

Further, these tax increases have failed to stabilize Connecticut’s finances, and large deficits continue to be projected for the state.

According to 2016 Connecticut Department of Revenue Services data, the state’s wealthiest 3 percent of families account for 41 percent of all income tax revenue. Between 2012 and 2018, Connecticut lost high earners at a rate that trailed only Washington, D.C., and those who fled earned more on average than taxpayers who migrated into the state.

Despite rate increases, the amount of taxes paid by Connecticut’s 100 top taxpayers plummeted 45 percent between 2015 and 2016 alone.

Massachusetts took a very different approach in the wake of the 1990-91 recession. A state income tax that was once 6.25 percent now stands at 5.0 percent. In recent years, the Commonwealth has gained millionaires at a higher rate than the national average, and nearly twice the rate of Connecticut.

Between January 2008 and January 2020, employment in Massachusetts grew by 12.5 percent. In contrast, Connecticut still hasn’t recovered all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession, and those it has created are, on average, lower paying.

Massachusetts has also benefited from Connecticut’s struggles to retain major corporations and wealthy individuals, and Connecticut is one of the few states from which taxable income migration to Massachusetts has been positive in recent years. That said, wealth migration remains a concern in Massachusetts, especially given the large scale of tax avoidance.

“Leaving has never been easier,” said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios. “In some cases, high earners can stay put and simply move money into trusts located in other states.”

About the Authors

Andrew Mikula is a Research Assistant at Pioneer Institute. Mr. Mikula was pre­viously a Lovett & Ruth Peters Economic Opportunity Fellow at Pioneer Institute and studied economics at Bates College.

Gregory Sullivan is Pioneer’s Research Director. Prior to joining Pioneer, Sullivan served two five-year terms as Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was a 17-year member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Greg is a Certified Fraud Investigator, and holds degrees from Harvard College, The Kennedy School of Public Administration, and the Sloan School at MIT.

About Pioneer

Pioneer’s mission is to develop and communicate dynamic ideas that advance prosperity and a vibrant civic life in Massachusetts and beyond.

Pioneer’s vision of success is a state and nation where our people can prosper and our society thrive because we enjoy world-class options in education, healthcare, transportation, and economic opportunity, and where our government is limited, accountable and transparent.

Pioneer values an America where our citizenry is well-educated and willing to test our beliefs based on facts and the free exchange of ideas, and committed to liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise.

Get Updates on Our Economic Opportunity Research

Related Posts

Massachusetts Tax Revenues Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels

/
Pandemic recovery and then some! Massachusetts revenues are higher than anyone was expecting, but where is all the money coming from? And what does this mean for the Massachusetts economy?

Yuliya Tarasava Invests In Americans Who Need It Most

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Yuliya Tarasava, immigrant from Belarus and cofounder and chief operating officer at CNote, a platform that helps facilitate investment in financially underserved communities across America.

Study Documents The Design Challenges, Contracting Issues, And Delays Facing New MBTA Fare Collection System

This new study unearths previously unseen communications between the MBTA and its contractors, showing that the MBTA’s efforts to modernize its fare collection system, including allowing payments with credit cards and bringing “tap and go” technology to Commuter Rail and ferry lines, was riddled with technological challenges and difficulties overseeing contractors as early as 2019, culminating in a 3-year delay to the project’s full implementation.

Jackie Krick Trains the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jackie Krick, immigrant from Colombia and founder, president and CEO of ECU Communications in Manassas, Virginia. They discuss the entrepreneurial spirit of the newest Americans - immigrants - and why they are twice as likely to start a business and create jobs.

Progressive Policy Study: Californians Dreamin’ While Jobs and People Leavin’

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with California Policy Center president Will Swaim about how the state’s ambitious policies have combined to stick its residents with the highest cost of living and a tax regime that discourages investment, innovation, and its vital entrepreneurial class.

Artur Sousa’s Social Entrepreneurship Pays Off

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Artur Sousa, immigrant from Brazil and founder and CEO of Adopets, an online platform that simplifies the work done by shelters and improves the pet adoption experience. Adopets has over 40,000 registered users and maintains more than 300,000 adoption listings.

Karina Calderon on How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Help Cities Grow

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Karina Calderon, deputy director of The Lawrence Partnership, about her work to help immigrant entrepreneurs drive economic growth in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Lawrence Partnership is a collaboration of business and civic leaders started in 2015 that helps by incubating, training, assisting, loaning, basically doing everything they and their partners can to grow the city’s businesses.

Invisible Hand Revealed: Economic Lessons in Everyday Life

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Matthew Hennessey, Wall Street Journal editor and author of Visible Hand, A Wealth of Notions on the Miracle of the Market, about how the principles of economics manifest themselves in our every day lives and how we can use that insight to better understand our personal and civic choices.

Zoning Reform Revisited: Local Control Determines How, Not If, Housing Gets Built

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer research associate Andrew Mikula about the need for affordable housing near the mass transit network and the requirements and local design opportunities of the 3A zoning reform law. Read Pioneer Institute's recent public comment on this topic.

Evan Silverio Builds Upon Immigrant Mother’s Business Success

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Evan Silverio, child of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, President and CEO of Silverio Insurance Agency, and founder of Diverse Real Estate, both in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Abul Islam Helps Rebuild America’s Infrastructure

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Abul Islam, immigrant from Pakistan and founder, President and CEO of AI Engineers. AI Engineers is a Connecticut-based consulting firm that builds and rehabilitates bridges, transportation systems and building systems throughout the U.S. Since 1991, Abul has created nearly 1,000 jobs and today leads a $50 million company. 

Roger Magalhaes Goes from Truck Driver to Industry Leader

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Roger Magalhaes, immigrant from Brazil and founder of the firms Shades in Place window treatment installation and Trading Up Consulting, in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Rent Control Redux: Mayor’s Committee Likely to Provide Astroturf Over Expertise

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with Doug Quatrocchi, executive director of Masslandlords.net about the historical effects of rent control in Boston and Cambridge in the past and discuss the gap between the stated goals and the likely outcome of Boston Mayor Wu’s 25 member Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee.

Avak Kahvejian on How Immigrants Drive Innovation

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Avak Kahvejian, an inventor, entrepreneur and CEO as well as general partner at Flagship Pioneering, a life sciences venture capital company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Celina Miranda on Immigrant Entrepreneurs & Community Uplift

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Celina Miranda, executive director of the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain’s Latin Quarter, today one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Massachusetts.

Study: Legislature Likely to Reduce Spending on Education and Transportation from Other Revenue Sources, Replace Cuts with Surtax Money

Revenue from a ballot initiative to amend the state Constitution and raise income taxes on households and businesses by adopting a graduated income tax structure would supposedly provide resources for transportation and public education, but a new study published by Pioneer Institute finds that, were the tax amendment to pass, the money would be fungible and much of it likely spent on general budget measures.   

Theresa Park on How Immigrants Revitalize U.S. Cities

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Theresa Park, Deputy Director and Senior Executive Vice President at MassDevelopment, a group that offers financing and real estate solutions to drive economic growth across Massachusetts. An immigrant from Korea who moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, Theresa saw first-hand how immigrants built their lives from the ground up, and in so doing brought economic and cultural vibrancy to their new home cities.

Reinier Moquete on the Audacity of Immigrant Entrepreneurship

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Reinier Moquete, son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and founder of CyberWarrior, a cyber security services provider in Boston, Massachusetts.