Letters: State needs federal tax task force, Reader finds Lamaj indecisive, uninformed
Published 12:00 am, Saturday, April 14, 2018
To the Editor:
Members of the Banking Committee of Connecticut’s General Assembly recently voted on party lines to move forward with Senate Bill 475. This bill would establish a task force to closely study and calculate the revenue loss Connecticut faces in light of the windfall that hedge funds, private equity firms, the state’s biggest corporations, and the richest families stand to gain from new federal tax law.
Ever since President Donald Trump’s tax plan passed, hedge fund and private equity managers stand to make massive gains through new and old tax loopholes that make it difficult for Connecticut to capture income tax revenues.
New federal statutes through the federal tax law, such as the pass through loophole, allow hedge funds to further avoid paying taxes. And despite promises and populist appeals made to middle and working class families by President Trump to close the carried interest tax loophole, which enables finance industry titans to pay almost half the effective tax rate paid by our teachers and janitors, his plan did no such thing. Connecticut will continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in hedge fund income that it is not able to capture for the public good.
That’s money that should pay for education, crumbling infrastructure, and services cut that will most impact the neediest in our state.
According to The New York Times, “economists and tax experts across the political spectrum warn that the proposed system would invite tax avoidance. The more the tax code distinguishes among types of earnings, personal characteristics or economic activities, the greater the incentive to label income artificially, restructure or switch categories in a hunt for lower rates.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the bill’s changes to “business and individual taxation could lead to a new era of business reorganization and tax-code gamesmanship with unknown consequences for the economy and federal revenue collection.”
Of course, this presents very serious implications for Connecticut, with its over-reliance on the finance sector, especially when the finance sector doesn’t invest in our economy as it once did. Every dollar of earnings or borrowing used to be associated with a 40-cent increase in investment. Since the 1980s, though, less than 10 cents of each earned or borrowed dollar is invested. This means fewer jobs created and more money winding up as shareholders’ profits.
Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states, but consistently ranks in the top five for income inequality in the nation. Our tax policies over the past few years haven’t benefited the middle class — whose wages have been stagnant for three decades. That harms our economy by lowering consumers’ ability to spend money and keep small businesses operating.
If our federal government won’t take meaningful steps to ensure that the finance sector pays its fair share, it’s up to states to regulate this industry. Neighboring states such as New York and New Jersey are taking steps to close the carried interest tax loophole, and Connecticut should as well.
In the meantime, the least we can do is pass legislation to assemble a task force that will calculate the coming loss to our state. I urge the Connecticut General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 475.
Connecticut Working Families Organization
Reader finds Lamaj indecisive, uninformed
To the Editor:
My word cloud for Peter Lamaj: Indecisive, uninformed, demeaning, and a bull*****er
Sunday morning, I had breakfast with Peter Lamaj and a few other people. I can say without a doubt that there are better ways to spend the morning.
He easily grasped at and assumed I do not talk or pay attention to politics when it was said that me and my mother do not talk politics (She is hard right, I am slightly left). I found it shocking he easily accepted his own idea that I had a lack of political knowledge, as if I am an empty head. I shook this off, but figured out why later on, but we will get back to that.
The entire breakfast was blatant finger pointing and blaming, rather than informative or conversational. The dirty words “liberal,” “Democrat” and “this generation” seeped out of his mouth more than carbon dioxide. In my opinion, this is the worst attribute of a politician for our government. We should all be working together and forming an alliance to make life better for all. All left or all right has never and will never fix all the problems. Most issues are better solved in the middle.
From what I could understand, “this generation” doesn’t matter and we are just lazy and entitled. Yup, heard that all before. The lazy assumption was when he looked at me and stated, “It is good and OK to work, you know?” after him and others talked about this generation not wanting to work. Well, to answer your question I do know that, as I have consistently had a job since I was 16. Sometimes having two or three at a time. At one point I was working 70 hours a week while taking five courses at an accredited sate university, where the lowest grade I earned was a B+.
All of my friends work and most also attend school, so I really do not understand how you call our generation lazy.
The idea that this generation does not matter was built up by the continued degrading comments and “no offense, but” statements (directed at me and the other 26-year-old at the table) coming out of his mouth. This lack of regard and faith in anyone younger than 35 is more than likely the reason for his false assumption about me and politics. I pay a lot of attention to politics, talk with both right and left wings, and have an overwhelming want to see change. You, sir, will not be that change.
Most issues brought up he “couldn’t say he agreed or disagreed,” in which he stated positions from different angles. A tactic I learned in business school. You read the other person’s face, finding positive and negative reactions and feeding off them in order to make yourself seem more likable and persuasive. This was strategic for business deals, but also works when you want the votes. I learned he was pro-gun and wants lower property taxes. Every other issue was a “can’t agree or disagree” stand. Had nothing to say about how he planned to fix high property taxes, mental health issues, or high criminal rates.
When he asked how he could get my vote and whether I had any questions, he looked shocked when I actually had a question. Not to mention the discomfort of answering it, with his don’t take a clear opinion and just get the vote attitude.
So not only is he a flip-flopper, but he is hypocritical. He spoke about his arrival to America. Spending six months taking refuge in a church basement and learning English after arriving. The church supported them and it allowed his family time to settle and succeed. A truly heartfelt American dream tale. Then he complained about immigrants who come to this country and live off of welfare. Immigrants are not allowed to receive welfare benefits for the first five years after arrival due to the 1996 “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act”. Most places only allot eight months’ worth of benefits for only refugees. About the same amount of time his family stayed at the church. His family survived and flourished and added to the economy because of the help of others resulting in a successful family owned and operated real estate business. Churches support refugees from donations and grants.
In other words, they used taxpayer money to help others, similar to welfare benefits. This is interesting information coming from someone who claimed he had never received government assistance. I would think that after he, his parents, and 10 other siblings received a helping hand from the church that he would be more understanding to others who are trying to achieve the same dream.
The state of Connecticut does not need another politician who won’t actually do anything, but ignore the people and discredits a huge majority of the population, the young. We are affected by the crashed housing market, increased college tuition, high rent, high taxes and low wages. This generation is really not to be blamed for these problems of today.
Best wishes from one of the lazy, jobless, too much college debt, empty head of “this generation” that you believe us to be.