As with just about all political viewpoints and positions on policy, the answer to the GE – state of Connecticut battle over tax burden lies somewhere in the middle. However the state’s Working Families Party (WPF)—a force to be reckoned with politically—would do well to look at the bigger picture. WFP is basically saying “stop your crying and contribute your fair share. Lost on WFP is the 5,700 employees of GE, thousands of who are from working families.
The Shad doesn’t have the answer to this stalemate over tax burdens but I do know the state cannot afford to call GE’s bluff on their threat to move out of Connecticut. That same goes for Travelers, Aetna and others. Sure, they exploit every loop hole they can find to minimize their tax liability. But it’s the employees of these companies that I’m concerned about.
Thousands of “working families” are employed by these companies. What happens if these companies leave? Not only does it leave these folks without jobs and without means to support their families, it cripples hundreds of smaller businesses that rely heavily on this population and their spending—Travelers and Aetna for instance, keep smaller businesses in the area in business (the same is true if the employees relocate out of state). An exodus of companies could substantially hurt the state’s already-struggling economy.
Gov, Dannel Malloy gets this. Hence, his willingness to meet with representatives of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association in an effort to rework the business tax portion of the new state budget passed by the legislature (Malloy has not singed the budget bills or the bills that implement the spending and tax plan). Hopefully they can come to some compromise.
It doesn’t help when a coalition of well-meaning groups—WFP, Connecticut Citizens Action Group and labor organizations—doesn’t realize that these aren’t faceless corporations made up of big-shot executives. They’re jobs for thousands of people probably already struggling in this economy. Not every GE employee spends their weekends on a yacht as one legislative leader put it (and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Scarborough called “third-grade stupid” on national TV).
A little more consideration of the working families employed by these corporations and a little less obsession with taxing the big corporations and their executives would all do us good.