Mal­loy’s been swing­ing for the fences on taxes

Greenwich Time - - OPINION -

Hank Aaron is base­ball’s ca­reer home run leader with 755 — ex­clud­ing one player from the per­for­mance drug era — de­spite the fact that, in his best sea­son, he tal­lied only 47, plac­ing him 77th on the sin­gle-sea­son record list.

Out­go­ing Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy is Con­necti­cut’s Hank Aaron of tax hikes, the undis­puted ca­reer leader, and he has a much bet­ter sin­gle-sea­son record than Aaron. Mal­loy’s $2.9 bil­lion in ca­reer tax hikes place him way ahead of Low­ell We­icker, whose $2 bil­lion in­crease in 1991 earned him both sec­ond place on the ca­reer list and the top po­si­tion for sin­gle-sea­son per­for­mance.

With his $1.95 bil­lion tax jolt in 2011, Mal­loy is just $71 mil­lion, or 3.5 per­cent, be­hind We­icker on the sin­gle-sea­son record list. Mal­loy’s next best yearly num­ber was $945 mil­lion in 2015, just $75 mil­lion be­hind Jodi Rell’s fourth place $1.0 bil­lion in­crease in 2009. (All amounts are ad­justed for in­fla­tion.)

Notwith­stand­ing this re­al­ity, last week, the non­par­ti­san Con­necti­cut Mir­ror lam­basted Con­necti­cut Repub­li­cans for claim­ing that Mal­loy is “to blame for the top two tax hikes in Con­necti­cut his­tory.”

Of course, the Mir­ror is tech­ni­cally cor­rect, but most rea­son­able peo­ple would over­look this tech­ni­cal er­ror in view of Mal­loy’s huge lead in the ca­reer rank­ing.

In ad­di­tion, We­icker claimed his sin­gle-sea­son record 27 years ago. No one car­ries around in their every­day con­scious­ness both the ex­act nom­i­nal num­ber from so long ago and the pre­cise in­fla­tion ad­just­ment fac­tor to con­vert it into cur­rent dol­lars.

And the third-rank­ing sin­gleyear in­crease pre­dates the in­sti­tu­tion of the in­come tax in 1991. That’s an­cient his­tory. Let’s ex­clude it.

So, were Mal­loy’s two tax in­creases only slightly larger, he would rank first and third in the sin­gle-sea­son rank­ings for the in­come tax era.

Nev­er­the­less, the Mir­ror pro­ceeded to charge the GOP with a cap­i­tal crime, so­lic­it­ing quotes from three ob­jec­tive ob­servers. Mal­loy’s spokes­woman called the GOP’s “top-two” claim “an out­right lie.” Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Ned La­mont’s cam­paign man­ager called it “a bun­dle of lies.” Mal­loy’s twotime cam­paign man­ager of­fered right­eous in­struc­tion “When you in­ten­tion­ally mis­state facts, that’s a lie.”

The Mir­ror not only charged the GOP with mak­ing an er­ror but im­plied that it was en­gag­ing in a cam­paign of de­cep­tion. “As most of us know, if you say some­thing of­ten enough, peo­ple will start to be­lieve you. Worse yet, they’ll re­peat it.”

Pur­su­ing this dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign an­gle, the Mir­ror was ex­pan­sive in parcel­ing out re­proach. Two busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion lead­ers and one think tank leader were fin­gered and shamed for per­pet­u­at­ing “the GOP lie.”

Cu­ri­ously, in an­other ar­ti­cle last week, the Mir­ror leaned over back­ward to ex­plain away Mal­loy’s 2011 tax in­crease. In a time­line of the big­gest tax in­creases in state his­tory, the Mir­ror placed the 2011 in­crease un­der the header “Mal­loy in­her­its a $3.7 bil­lion deficit.” While ob­vi­ously de­signed to ab­solve Mal­loy of blame, nev­er­the­less, the header is fair and ac­cu­rate.

How­ever, sym­me­try would sug­gest that, if we look at what Mal­loy in­her­ited, we should look also at what he is be­queath­ing his suc­ces­sor.

How­ever, sym­me­try would sug­gest that, if we look at what Mal­loy in­her­ited, we should look also at what he is be­queath­ing his suc­ces­sor. Mal­loy’s own ad­min­is­tra­tion projects a $4.6 bil­lion bud­get deficit in the next bi­en­nium.

That’s de­spite his ca­reer record tax in­crease of $2.9 bil­lion, which, in turn, doesn’t in­clude the equiv­a­lent of a third big Mal­loy-era tax in­crease. The cur­rent bi­en­nial bud­get in­cludes the elim­i­na­tion or re­duc­tion of var­i­ous tax cred­its, de­duc­tions and ex­emp­tions to­tal­ing an es­ti­mated $350 mil­lion.

Nor does it in­clude the cur­rent $750 mil­lion raid on the U.S. Trea­sury in the form of a Kafkaesque hospi­tal tax scheme that Mal­loy in­tro­duced in 2011.

In the cur­rent bud­get, Con­necti­cut is levy­ing a $900 mil­lion tax on hos­pi­tals, send­ing $600 mil­lion right back to them in the form of Med­i­caid “sup­ple­men­tal pay­ments,” which qual­ify for $450 mil­lion in fed­eral match­ing funds. The state is net­ting $750 mil­lion (the $300 not re­turned plus the $450). If ever the fed­eral govern­ment were to shut this down…

De­spite the tech­ni­cal er­ror in the “top two” charge, the GOP is ab­so­lutely cor­rect to la­bel Mal­loy the tax hike record-holder of all time. The tragedy is that we’re not talk­ing about base­ball, but rather num­bers that threaten the very sur­vival of the state. In­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses are flee­ing, hav­ing en­dured mas­sive tax in­creases un­der Mal­loy and, given his “be­quest,” see­ing no pos­si­ble end to them for years to come.

Linda Con­ner Lam­beck / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy ad­dresses school su­per­in­ten­dents in Hart­ford on Aug. 15.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.