A coalition of community, faith, and labor organizations committed to reducing income inequality today sent a letter to Governor Lamont urging him to support an economic recovery that all Connecticut residents can share.
The coalition, which includes CEA, wrote that years of disinvestment have left the state poorly positioned to endure a storm like the one COVID-19 has created.
“Right now, Connecticut residents are hurting. COVID-19’s pain has been deep and widespread, but it has not been equally felt,” the letter reads. “People of color have been disproportionately infected and hospitalized. They’ve also had higher rates of job loss. Working class residents across this state were already struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic. Now they battle to keep a roof over their heads, pay their bills, and feed their children. They need help.”
Connecticut Voices for Children, a researched-based advocacy organization, published a report last month that found the poorest families in our state—those making less than $53,000 a year—pay an effective tax rate that is more than triple that of the wealthiest families—those making over $680,000 a year.
While infection rates have started to come down and revenues have improved, the slow economic recovery has mostly benefited the wealthy in the state. In the last week, reports from the Hartford Courant and The Day have shown the depth of food insecurity for many as massive lines for food assistance built up in East Hartford, Norwich, and many other cities and towns across the state.
In a survey, Foodshare found that 70% of the people seeking assistance had never used a food pantry before COVID-19. The same percentage reported that they had to choose between buying food and paying other bills in the past month.
The letter specifically calls for a recovery that:
- Reduces the vast income inequality that impedes economic growth;
- Fairly updates our tax code to progressively redistribute tax burdens, fortify state finances, meet unmet human need, and build our future;
- Makes historic investments in education, workforce development, healthcare, affordable housing, and other vital public services that undo the inequities and disparities in our state budget; and
- Builds a strong economy where everyone, not just the wealthy, can thrive.
“The pandemic has shown us that we pull through by pulling together, no matter what we look like or where we live,” the letter concludes. “Communities across Connecticut have come together during the pandemic, determined to help each other and leave no one behind. Now, together, we must do the same as a state. We must do our best to ensure that each one of us—regardless of income, gender, race, or zip code—emerges stronger than before. Now more than ever, it’s time to pull together to ensure everyone can make ends meet, not continue unbalanced tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.”
Click here to see the letter sent by the Recovery for All coalition to Gov. Lamont.