Regional taxation is coming back. This time under the guise of eliminating local property taxes on motor vehicles. That sounds good, but check the justification for the move offered by Connecticut’s House Speaker, Brendan Sharkey [no kidding]:
House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, this week said a committee charged with studying regional efficiency will again look for ways to eliminate the car tax and to reimburse towns and cities for lost revenue.
“Everyone recognizes it is the most regressive tax,” Sharkey said. “We have to make towns and cities whole and reduce or eliminate that tax.”
When a Democrat has “regressive” on his lips, he’s got lust and higher taxes in his mind.
Just last month we discussed this new commission and what it was being set up to do: Republicans saw in it the beginning of the reimposition of a county system of government, giving Hartford the power to redistribute tax revenue, create regional, cross-border school systems and in general, reshape Connecticut as Hartford, rather than local towns, saw fit.
Reached at his villa in Mustique, just purchased from Walter Noel for $67 million, Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei saw cause for alarm, and told FWIW:
“It could happen this year or next year, but I think there is going to be a major play to redistribute resources,” Greenwich First Selectman Peter Teseisaid. “There is no doubt this is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. And looking at how poorly Connecticut is doing financially, and the debt burden and taxes in certain communities, the Legislature and governor are going to look to for alternate means to feed the beast.”
Tesei said is unclear how a reorganized planning group might operate, but he said such consolidations can be accompanied by funding formulas that distribute resources based on population. Language accompanying the legislation suggests regions could assume area-wide responsibility for social services, housing, education, and public safety functions in the future, Tesei said.
“In a way, it is a masking of an alternate ways to tax people. They’ve already maxed out state taxes and that’s why the economy is so bad. They’ve beaten that horse down, so they get on another one.”
Redistributing (read, “denying wealthier towns) federal transportation money was the first step. Taking away property taxes from municipalities and “reimbursing” them from Hartford, which, always, means collecting money from the rich and giving to the poor, is next. If Bridgeport loses the revenue it collects from its car tax, where will the money to make up that loss come from, higher taxes on Bridgeport’s residents or on Greenwich’s? You get just one guess.
Schools and hospitals are next.