“What Can Connecticut Do to Help Its Housing Market?”
Statistics show that although prices around the country are starting to firm up, prices in New England are still falling. A recent CNBC poll ranked Connecticut 43 out of 50 states for business competitiveness. With our high taxes (look at our gas prices compared to other states) and unfriendly business climate, we have become the overpriced listing that sells its competition.
I sold industrial stainless steel in Southern New England in the 80’s and 90’s. Business was booming and times were good in Connecticut. Companies like Clairol and Nestle closed plants in California and relocated their employees to towns like Stamford and New Milford. Now Clairol has left, leaving thousands to the unemployment line. Peter Paul’s building, once a proud landmark in Naugatuck is now, sadly, an open lot – the building torn down long ago, and the business, not the employees, moved to a plant in Pennsylvania. I did a lot of business in Waterbury in those days, too. Now the major employer is the Department of Social Services & trust me; social workers don’t earn what machinists do, so that loud sucking sound you hear is our state’s wealth being drained away to more business friendly regions of the country.
And I’m sorry, Governor Malloy, giving millions of dollars in tax incentives to billionaire hedge funds to move from one Connecticut town to another doesn’t help anyone but your rich friends. We need legislators who realize that businesses may not be perfect but they are necessary. Businesses leave footprints on their environments, and sometimes businesses act badly, but businesses also employ people who spend their income in local shops and pay taxes to fund their government. Not every resident of Connecticut relies on trust funds; instead they must rely on steady employment and a weekly pay check.
Without a healthy working class, houses won’t sell, let alone appreciate in value. Who will move here to replace those who must leave to find employment? Real estate markets need upward mobility to thrive and this is sorely lacking in Connecticut. Our legislators need to look beyond the short term fix of raising taxes in favor of increased revenue through increased employment participation.