Residents gathered at the statehouse on Friday to ask lawmakers to stop thinking about them as revenue sources and to instead think about how the state’s laws are affecting their daily lives.
Connecticut College student Michael Coscarelli said he was at the Capitol on behalf of his father, who runs a small business and couldn’t be there.
“He pays his taxes, he hires union workers,” said Coscarelli. “I’m here to stand up for him, because I don’t think you can tell someone how to spend their money.”
Coscarelli said he is concerned about the proposed “Hoarder’s Tax,” a bill that would place a levy on companies for keeping money in the bank.
“This is what liberals think of people who save money – they think of them as hoarders,” said J.R. Romano, state director of American’s For Prosperity, who sponsored the event.
Romano asked the residents who showed up to the event to sign a “I’m Not a Revenue Source” petition.
The state enacted $1.5 billion in tax hikes in 2011, but the new revenues haven’t kept pace with plans for new spending. Malloy’s new budget would see spending go up almost 10 percent over the next two years.
Several small business owners at the event expressed frustration with how the state treats them.
Robin Emond said the business she owns with her husband has struggled to stay afloat recently.
“They’re trying to wear us down so they can have their way,” said Emond. “If it weren’t for our four elderly parents in the state, we’d be out of here.”
Chris Ratineri, a New Haven financial adviser, said even though he grew up in the state and has family here, the state’s economic situation makes him reevaluate his plans to stay.
“I can’t trust the legislature here with my retirement,” he said. “I don’t trust that they’re doing the right things. Our taxes keep going up.”
Wallingford real estate broker Mark Mnich said he’s seeing first hand the effect the state’s fiscal policies are having on families.
“I’ve seen many people move out of state because they see greener pastures elsewhere,” he said.
Many of the residents at the event expressed frustration with their inability to keep up with what the legislature is doing. But Republican state Sen. Joe Markley said they shouldn’t have to.
“You can’t be expected to fight all of these bills,” he said. “You need to elect people to office who are on your side. It’s easier to elect good people than to change the minds of people on the other side.”