The Bristol Blog features news and information about Bristol, Connecticut.
May 12, 2009
Werner says to lay off ESPN
Former Mayor Mike Werner sent this along:
I've read some of the posts about ESPN, and I had to respond.
Connecticut just doesn't get it. People and businesses keep moving out (you've lost a Congressional seat as a result), and the lawmakers don't stop to think why everyone is leaving. After living in CT for over fifty years, I became a Florida resident because CT's taxes drove me here. The house I live in is bigger than the one I had in Bristol, but my property taxes are just about half of what they were up there. There is also no income tax. I can live here for less. You are driving out the very people you need to keep your budget in balance. A small minority of people in CT carry the majority of the tax burden, yet receive few benefits. As their taxes rise, those people are leaving.
I contend that ESPN would have a positive impact on Bristol if they paid no taxes at all. Think about it. They employ hundreds of area people, all of whom shop in local stores, eat at local restaurants, pay property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, etc. ESPN also does business with dozens of vendors, all of whom hire people, pay taxes, buy stuff from others locally who hire people, etc. ESPN and their employees are also very generous with area charities. If ESPN moved to Orlando, hundreds of people would be out of work, and dozens of area businesses would either shut down or downsize. Area charities would lose money and volunteers, and the state and city would lose a lot of tax revenue from all those people and businesses ESPN supports.
If they shuttered their Bristol operation, you'd have a lot more trouble filling their vacant buildings than you're having developing the Center Mall site. Then try to imagine how much of that impact will be shifted to everyone who stays in Bristol. No one would be able to afford his new property tax bill.
Instead of raising taxes, the state should be looking at ways to lower business taxes to encourage current businesses to expand in CT, and to encourage new businesses to move there. Raising taxes does just the opposite. One idea is to make everyone pay the income tax. No exceptions. They'll never do that; there are too many people who pay nothing, and they vote. Here's another novel idea: Try cutting spending.
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