Governor Malloy's State of the State address last week was new in tone. He talked about the time of unfettered spending being over. Really?? He went on to say that the citizens of Connecticut had accepted that limitation for some time, and that now it was time for the State to join in, and live within its means.
It sounds improbable, after years of a punishing recession and a lagging recovery, to think that this attitude would be new. But, alas, it is. He didn't promise change too quickly, but let's hope that the State employees, retirees, and, most importantly, the unions, get the message. They have benefits that the rest of us simply cannot afford. And, as proof that we can't, they are unfunded to a degree that is frightening. Taxes raised to cover them have resulted in almost a mass exodus from Connecticut.
There is one more group, however, that needs to get with this program, and that's the State Legislature. Somehow, they are producing figures that show no out migration, or lowering of estate taxes. It could be true that they don't show the issue yet--after all, the people that are leaving are still alive. People like living here, if they have a job. In many cases, it's dying here that they are trying to avoid. The legislature seems to think that we can keep taxing probated estates as much as we want to, without recourse. But, if retirees and independent people are leaving to avoid that, it's as dumb a plan as we can imagine. After all, what's the use of a tax that people aren't sticking around to pay?
Estate taxes are only one of the issues Connecticut needs to address. Let's hope that Governor Malloy can convince the State House and Senate to cooperate with him, as he begins to fix the damage. We'll be watching, and hoping so.