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Consider This…

Consider that Connecticut – sited between the financial powerhouses of New York and Boston – was once an economic leader, but, sadly, our days of prominence have been followed by decades of decline. Why?

Consider that Connecticut is still a leader in several categories, but mostly the kind one tries to avoid. Residents and business entities are being taxed out of existence—gift tax, occupational tax, gross receipts tax, alternative minimum tax, a tax on Social Security benefits, and an estate tax, just to name a few. According to a recent Yankee Institute study, of Connecticut’s 360 revenue sources, the bottom 200 brings in only $29.6 million dollars. Governor Malloy’s two-year, $40.6 billion budget proposal is swarming with nuisance levies where the negative impact on the state supersedes any financial benefit.

Consider that Connecticut has an estate tax with a very low threshold of $2 million dollars. It is difficult to retire comfortably when residents are taxed beyond their working years. With a high cost of living and soaring healthcare rates, senior citizens suffer disproportionally from our taxes. If that weren’t bad enough, the estate tax has drawn even more scorn. The adage “You cannot afford to die in Connecticut” has become an accepted truth.

Consider that Connecticut has an estate tax with a very low threshold of $2 million dollars. The Federal threshold is currently $5.45 million dollars and is slated to go up to just under $6 million later this year. Even New Jersey is phasing out their estate tax (2018). It is no surprise that accountants have been telling clients for years that Connecticut is not only a bad place in which to retire, but also a bad place in which to die. The statistics showing Connecticut at the wrong end of the spectrum when it comes to out migration should be a clarion call to all that we must reverse course now and stop repeating mistakes with the same old “tax-and-spend” philosophy that brought us to this situation in the first place.

Consider that Connecticut, despite our efforts to thwart wasteful spending and tax hikes, is still indebted to our own pension fund. We create new revenue sources to stop the bleeding, but get sidetracked by new spending opportunities – a cycle that requires immediate intervention. We have heard your voices and understand that no matter how hard you work, you are still bombarded by rising costs and rising taxes, and you are finding it difficult to keep up.

The Greenwich Delegation has considered these concerns and has introduced H.B. 5631, An Act Increasing the Threshold for Imposition of the Estate Tax, which would bring Connecticut’s estate tax threshold in line with the Federal level. Perhaps this will also lead to a reduction in the income tax down the road, which could be offset be revisiting our pension crisis and finding ways to reduce the state’s financial obligation in the future.

Now, Consider that Connecticut, a state once championed for its prestigious public schools, international companies and high standard of living now finds itself being abandoned by employers, ignored by college graduates and reconsidered by lifelong residents. When will the last of our businesses uproot for tax-friendly alternatives? What will become of our home when the aging population that remains can no longer afford to live here? Who will be left to turn the state around? And, at that point, who will be left to care?

Consider that, Connecticut… and consider that we can do something about it, but it must be done soon. This is our Connecticut moment.

GREENWICH DELEGATION TOURS BLUE SKY STUDIOS

GREENWICHState Representatives Livvy Floren (R-149), Mike Bocchino (R-150), and Fred Camillo (R-151) toured Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich on Monday, January 23rd with Chief Operating Officer Brian Keane and other members of the Blue Sky team.

“In 2007, I voted in favor of a Digital Animation Production Tax Credit program, which encouraged Blue Sky Studios to move from New York to Greenwich, CT in 2008,” said Rep. Floren. “I was privileged to partake in that process and I am grateful for the investment they have made in Connecticut.”

The Digital Animation Production Tax Credit program offers tax credits to companies that follow certain guidelines. Eligible companies must employ at least 200 full-time employees, perform digital animation production, and maintain their studio facilities all within the State of Connecticut. Blue Sky Studios maintains a 150,000 square foot studio and employs 500 people in Greenwich.

“I was impressed with the overall presentation of the facility and it was clear that all team members took great pride in their work,” said Rep. Bocchino. “This was not your average work environment and I enjoyed seeing how the various departments designed their workspaces to reflect their function in the company. This is the ‘thinking outside-the-box’ that Connecticut needs.”

The production company is well known around the world for developing animated films such as Ice Age, The Peanuts Movie and Rio. Blue Sky employs skilled workers in a variety of positions with career opportunities for individuals with different backgrounds. In addition to employing artists, Blue Sky also employs engineers, programmers, human resources and accounting professionals, among other positions.

“This is the type of innovation we want in Connecticut because it makes our economy diverse,” said Rep. Camillo. “I am impressed with Blue Sky Studios’ creativity, imagination and business ingenuity, and I will continue to advocate on their behalf in Hartford so that they may continue to succeed here.”

Blue Sky Studios is set to release Ferdinand on December 22nd and continues to work on several other films in development.

Meet the Leaders with Rep. Livvy Floren: Opening Day of the 2017 Session

Rep. Livvy Floren Receives Committee Assignments for 2017 Session

Livvy Floren

HARTFORD – State Representatives Livvy Floren (R-149) today announced her committee assignments for the legislative session that began Wednesday, January 4, 2017. She will retain her role as Assistant Republican Leader.

Representative Floren, now entering her ninth term in office, retains her powerful position as Ranking Member of the General Bonding Subcommittee, and will continue to serve on the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee and the Insurance and Real Estate Committee. She will join the Legislative Management Committee.

“Opening Day of session is always filled with positivity and promise,” said Rep. Floren. “I have high hopes that the spirit of bipartisanship will continue throughout so we can work together to get things done to improve the economy of our State.”

For more information regarding the duties and responsibilities of each committee, please go to www.cga.ct.gov and click the “committees” tab.