Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

February 3, 2021

Legislators Join Together to Urge the Importance of Investing in Connecticut’s Middle Class and Working People

Today, numerous state legislators, including State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) and State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury), joined together to advocate for bold action and for Connecticut to ensure investments in the state budget and in the state’s future, people and programs. The facets that define our communities and allow our residents to thrive are at risk without serious focus on reducing income inequality, finding revenue to fortify state programs and efforts to invest in education, workforce development, health care, housing and vital public services.

With the COVID-19 pandemic only further widening the gap between those with and without – working families facing poverty, food insecurity, job loss, educational disparities and pressing housing issues now more than ever – thousands of families are being pushed to the brink, making state resources more vital than ever.

Adding insult to injury, current structures result in hedge fund managers paying far less in taxes than teachers, nurses and grocery store workers, the essential workers who have kept the state going as the pandemic rages. Giving Connecticut residents a more reliable tax system, ensuring everyone pays their share and everyone receives the help they need, is the solution.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the significant flaws of our systems, exposing every gap that disadvantages some but not all of us,” said Sen. Anwar. “Now more than ever, we need to fight for the everyday people of Connecticut, fighting to make sure everyone in our state has the same opportunities and resources that will allow them to succeed and thrive.”
Sen. Kushner joined a distinguished group of legislators including State Representative Robyn Porter (D-New Haven), State Representative Quentin Phipps (D-Middletown) and State Representative Kate Farrar (D-West Hartford) in Wednesday’s call to action, joined by community members who shared their personal stories about struggling with heath care and housing in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denise Rogers, of Hamden, spoke Wednesday to give her story of survival and recovery from COVID-19 after losing her husband to the virus in the spring of 2020. Rogers, diagnosed as a COVID-19 “long hauler” with side effects including brain fog and fatigue, pleaded for the public to know there is a recovery gap among survivors, as she is still fighting for worker’s compensation, as she was likely infected on the job as a bus driver.

“It’s a fight for many of us, and it’s still an uphill battle out here,” Rogers said. “We need your help.”

Gavin Guerra, an independent filmmaker from Weston, expressed he has struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic in a different way. As a gig worker moving from project to project, Guerra said he lost health insurance around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring him to go on COBRA health care. To ensure his daughter, who has autism and Crohn’s disease, receives quality care, the cost is more than $30,000 per year solely on premiums. Health care reform and investment are key, he said, to help many families like his avoid this extreme financial pressure.

Significant investments are necessary to protect and preserve the resources supporting our communities. Among the priorities mentioned by the legislators include municipal aid, especially in fully funding the Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, program that reimburses cities and towns for state-owned and other tax-exempt properties. Other important resources advocated for include both grade-level and higher education, with the Education Cost Sharing formula, full funding of Alliance District grants and universal pre-kindergarten programs, as well as providing protection for state and community colleges by closing budget deficits and funding the Program for Free Community College.

Even more pressing is the need to address health care, with recommendations to expand Husky and commit to long-term care and state-run direct care mental health and housing services, and to expand the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program and build new affordable housing units, they added. They further advocated to send stimulus payments to those who have lost their jobs, double property tax credits for property owners and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, all of which would directly benefit and reduce financial strain on those in need.

To put such changes in place and restore tax relief for working families and middle-class families, legislators suggested changes to tax codes ranging from digital ad revenue taxes for companies with annual revenue over $10 billion; a property tax on market value portions of homes valued over $1.5 million; reduce estate tax exemptions; increase corporation business tax rates for corporations; impose new surtaxes on income of more than $500,000; and raise individual income tax rates for individuals earning more than $500,000 per year and $1 million per year. These suggestions and recommendations are intended for state legislators, including Governor Ned Lamont, to consider in the 2021 legislative session.