Letter to the Editor in the Hartford Courant
July 5, 2005
I submitted a letter to the editor in the Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) which ran on Saturday, July 2 (See link here). The purpose of the letter was to describe why giving ING, a private retirement company, a $10 million subsidy is contrary to sound economic development policy. The letter read as follows:
July 2 2005
Connecticut is preparing to hand over $10 million in taxpayer money to ING, a private insurance and retirement company [Page 1 June 30, “ING Set To Leave City”]. With sweetheart corporate deals such as this, it’s no wonder the state continues to raise taxes. The purpose of taxes is to raise money to fund the government, not to fund privately held companies.
Ironically, Connecticut officials describe the payoff as “economic development” when, in reality, Connecticut struggles to retain business precisely because of deals like this. Naturally ING’s jealous competitors will now be looking for handouts.
Corporate subsidies do not enhance Connecticut’s business climate and economic environment, and Connecticut is in dire need of improvement. The Tax Foundation ranks Connecticut’s business climate 37th in the country and its state and local tax burden 12th highest. The only way to improve these rankings is by simplifying the tax code, lowering tax rates and reducing regulations on companies.
Companies will choose to locate in Connecticut without the aid of a subsidy if the state’s tax climate is business-friendly. High, complicated taxes coupled with onerous regulations are the reasons lawmakers have to offer corporate subsidies to entice companies to move to or stay in the state.
Connecticut will continue to struggle economically and businesses will continue to leave until lawmakers stop giving away taxpayer dollars and set to work actually improving the state’s economic climate.