Some observers wonder why people in Connecticut are making such a fuss over proposals to install tolls. After all, most of us pass through tolls regularly. They are part of everyday life in surrounding states, so what is the big deal? Why are protests popping up all over? The opposition has become so contentious that one state representative suggests that towns protesting tolls should be denied state transportation aid.
This is unfortunate when an honest open dialogue is needed on what could become one of the most costly tax increases for residents coming on the heels of the historic increases in 2015 and 2011. Those increases give Connecticut the dubious distinction of having the highest combined federal, state and local tax burden in the nation. The state is losing people and jobs as a direct result.
Connecticut’s economy is an eco-system. Everything is connected. Legislators should be asking how tolls and taxes taken as a whole will impact the state’s reputation as a business- and taxpayer-friendly place. Any increases to the cost of living should be closely scrutinized, especially since Connecticut is one of the only states that has not recovered from the great recession of 2008, and GDP growth of .4% is the weakest in the Northeast.