Letter: How are we doing? A conservative’s view

To the Editor:
Connecticut currently ranks No. 2 in total state, local and property taxes, according to a recent report. The total taxes are 12.6% of an individual’s income, 0.1% lower than our neighbor New York. Adding to the 12.6% are new or increased taxes for paid family medical leave, tolls, expansion of the sales tax, soda tax, plastic bag surcharge and transferal of teacher pension costs to our town. The governor estimates an increase in taxes of $1.4 billion. The Paid Family Medical Leave tax of .5% may be enough to vault us ahead of New York into the No. 1 1 position as the state with the highest total tax burden.
Gov. Ned Lamont believes he can achieve a reduction in spending of $522.6 million through the transfer of social services to private non-profit organizations, create a risk-sharing cost of living adjustment for state employees, and other minor changes. The risk-sharing cost of living adjustment for state employees will require negotiations. I am not optimistic that the unions will make further concessions
Second, according to U.S. News and World Report of Best States, Connecticut ranks 24th. No. 24 is not horrible until you realize that in 2017, Connecticut was rated number 12. Our ranking is helped by health care, No. 4; crimes and corrections, No. 8; and education, No. 14. We are hurt by our rankings in opportunity (upward mobility) No. 29, quality of life No. 38, infrastructure No. 41, fiscal stability No. 41 and economy No. 43.
Third, regionalization of our schools will drive educational standards down and costs up for our town. A regional school tax will transfer control of the schools’ budget from Ridgefield to the new tax region.
Ed Koch asked, “How am I doing?” I think the Democrats should ask the same question.
Craig Cerone
Barlow Mountain Road, March 15