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Carolina Floats A Commuter Tax

by Paul Bass | Apr 30, 2013 4:20 pm

(30) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Campaign 2013

New Haven’s seventh official Democratic candidate for mayor started his campaign with a call for New Haven to consider taxing suburbanites who travel to town for government jobs.

The candidate, Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina, made the call during a visit to the city clerk’s office at 200 Orange St. to file his official papers to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination at a Sept. 10 primary to succeed retiring two-decade incumbent Mayor John DeStefano.

Paul Bass Photo Carolina also made a point of simultaneously filing papers to participate in the city’s Democracy Fund public-financing system, under which candidates swear off outside special-interest committee contributions and individual donations above $370 (as opposed to the legal limit of $1,000) in return for matching government dollars. Three fellow mayoral candidates have also committed to the system: Justin Elicker, Gary Holder-Winfield, and Sundiata Keitazulu. Three mayoral candidates have chosen not to participate: Toni Harp, Henry Fernandez, and Matthew Nemerson.

Carolina’s campaign begins with a cast of supporters from Westville: his campaign manager, Darryl Brackeen, a Hillhouse and Fairield University political science graduate and current schoolteacher; his campaign spokesmen, attorney Bob Pellegrino and teacher Jack Paulishen; and his expected city clerk candidate running mate, Anne Weaver Lozon. An “exploratory committee” campaign event on April 9 also revealed a sizable initial base of support among people active in New Haven’s black community.

At Tuesday’s filing, Carolina sought to differentiate himself from the crowded field by stressing his local roots—growing up in the Elm Haven projects, attending high school and college here, now owning a home in town and running a public high school—as making him especially qualified to tackle what he called the city’s central challenge: poverty.

“I have skin in this game. And I’ve had it here for a long time,” said Carolina, who is 45.

New Haven needs “bold and audacious leadership” willing to explore dramatic new ideas, Carolina argued.

He spoke of two ideas that he said would involve adults more in the around-the-clock life of people in the neighborhoods.

One idea: Giving blighted homes foreclosed upon by the city to city cops. The cops would agree to live in the homes and receive a five-year tax abatement.

“If crime is an issue in our most violent neighborhoods, and if blight is an issue, what better way to deal with the issue of blight than to give homes that have been foreclosed that are on the list of the city to New Haven police officers?” Carolina said.

In the 2011 mayoral campaign, candidate Jeffrey Kerekes proposed a “Come Back Home” program offering government workers 50 percent tax breaks to buy houses in town. (Click on the play arrow to watch him discuss it at the time.) In 2010, then-Alderman Darnell Goldson proposed a “HomeWork Program” under which city employees living outside New Haven would enjoy a year without paying car taxes if they move into the city, and get hit with a “community contribution” tax if they don’t. (The proposal did not pass.)

Carolina floated a larger idea, as well: Instituting a commuter tax on suburbanites who hold city government jobs.

At this point, Carolina said, he is suggesting the general idea; he doesn’t yet have specifics of the plan.

The idea has arisen from time to time for decades in New Haven and in cities across the country as they desperately seek new tax revenue. Business interests generally oppose commuter taxes, claiming they will drive away employers. Carolina said he’s not suggested placing the tax on private employers. Instead, he characterized the tax as a tool to make teachers and cops more a part of the city not just during the workday, but on off-hours as well.

Public employees, he said, “have to have skin in this game also. It’s not enough to work in this city and go back home.”

He noted that public education and police and fire services consume 52 percent of the city budget—and “70 percent of those people [working in those departments]  live outside the city of New Haven. Those children, when they leave every day and they’re in the community beyond the school day, they don’t see these people enough. Certainly there’s exceptions. Don’t get me wrong. But the bottom line is the resources that these people can provide to this city, those resources go” to other communities.

Also, in the quest to eradicate poverty, “we have to be very bold to find additional revenue sources in this city,” Carolina said.

The city can’t institute a commuter tax on its own. It would need state permission to do so, permission from a legislature dominated by the suburbs.

New Haven state Sen. Martin Looney cast doubt on the prospects of passing such a tax. Restricting it to government employees would probably lead to an equal protection challenge by the suburban city workers, who would call the tax a deduction from their paychecks, Looney predicted. And a broader commuter tax can succeed only in larger metropolitan areas with bigger cities, he argued.

“When I talk about bold and audacious leadership, I’m also talking about that,” Carolina (pictured) said when asked about the possibility of getting state approval. “We need to bring stakeholders together in this community and have a serious discussion around the potential of a commuter tax. We need to seriously look at it.”

One of Carolina’s Democratic mayoral campaign opponents, Matthew Nemerson, called Carolina’s suggestion “creative” and “exactly the kind of conversation-starter that we need.”

As president of the regional Chamber of Commerce in the 1990s, Nemerson opposed city officials’ efforts to get the state legislature to pass enabling legislation for New Haven to pass a commuter tax. That proposal, unlike Carolina’s, would have affected all workers in town, not just government workers.

Efforts to get the state to support residency requirements for government workers have also fallen short in Hartford. Some aldermen in recent years—such as Darnell Goldson, Charles Blango and Sergio Rodriguez—have explored ways to increase the number of government workers living in town, perhaps through greater preferences in hiring. Right now only top mayoral appointees are required to live in New Haven (or pretend to live here by having a local address).

“There have been conversations for decades about whether municipal employees should be required to live in the city, more than just a few of the leaders, the top managers. The state has never gone along with that. [But] it’s a conversation to have,” Nemerson said. He said the larger issue is how to get revenue from the region. “We’re basically bleeding the city dry by not allowing it to benefit from the amazing region. Greater New Haven is one of the richest and most diverse and healthy regions in the country with one exception—it is bleeding its heart to death. And so a body cannot live forever if all its extremities can’t have blood pumped to them. We’re about to take to hit a tipping point where the entire region has to take its responsibility seriously and the financial role it needs to play to keep New Haven growing and strong.

“The real question here is: What permission is the state going to give the city to find new revenue sources? I don’t think an income tax or commuter tax is the only answer. Bot I think we need to put together a menu of ways that cities can be enabled to raise new revenues. The most sensible thing is to have a regional property tax.”

Sen. Looney said he’d like to see a regional tax approach too, similar to one used in Minnesota.

Mayoral candidate Justin Elicker called the commuter tax “an idea worth exploring.  But I think it’s important to us to focus on the things we control.” Candidate Gary Holder-Winfield, a state representative, said he’d be “interested in seeing Kermit’s overall plan before I comment.” He said the “larger question” is what kind of plan New Haven draws up for “expanding general taxable lane” and finding more revenue.

Historically, municipal union leaders have opposed efforts to favor city-dwellers or tax suburbanites in local government jobs. Police union President Lou Cavaliere Jr. said Tuesday that he would oppose a commuter tax on city workers along the lines proposed by Carolina.

“Wow. I never heard of such a thing,” Cavaliere said. “On top of the points you receive for taking a test for one of the positions for the city of New Haven, they want to charge you for living out of the city? I don’t think you should be penalized for where you live. I just don’t think it’s fair to the kid coming out of college that might not even own a home yet and just wants to be a policeman and work in the public sector, and penalized before he starts his job. He’s already in the hole.”

“You’re making people turn away from the city if they don’t live in the city,” Cavaliere argued. “They think if you live here, you’re going to take more responsibility for the town you live in. A policeman is very professional. When it comes to that, they put their blinders on and are very professional. Your drive is always to do good.”

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posted by: anonymous on April 30, 2013  4:42pm

These are critical issues to the New Haven community.  It’s great to see a candidate bringing them to the forefront, instead of speaking in vague generalities about “adding jobs,” “fixing schools,” or “building consensus.” I hope this happens at the debates.

To make the commuter tax easy, could we just charge non-resident city employees for parking? Parking permit zones could be expanded around city schools, so that out-of-town employees who work there would pay the tax, too.

$700/year in commuter/parking fees times the 3,000 or so employees who live out of town and drive here works out to over $2 million in revenue that can be reinvested into our crumbling neighborhoods and hire back all those parks workers we laid off. But more importantly, a step like this encourages those employees to move to the city.

We need a Mayor who can bring these issues up with the Unions and “New Haven Rising” (CCNE).  As long as those who represent our suburban workforce (Cavaliere’s union for example is 80% out-of-town) continue to call all of the shots, the city is doomed.  The first step is bringing in a Mayor who forces groups like Cavaliere’s to have that conversation.

posted by: CreatingUrgency on April 30, 2013  5:14pm

When he is ready to give up the MAGNET SCHOOL FUNDS that come from other towns’ taxes, then he can talk about taxing us commuters. (Ironically, Hill House is considered a MAGNET SCHOOL see http://www.nhps.net/magnets .)

These so-called politicos need to understand that many of us own homes and pay taxes…taxes that DO FUND the magnet school program.

Most teachers (and safety personnel) live within the magnet school district (basically Stratford, Bethany, Wallingford, Clinton circle).

When MY taxes do not support NEW HAVEN PUBLIC EDUCATION STUDENTS, then you can tax me for working in New Haven.

I guess Carolina doesn’t need the teachers’ vote.

Working to improve my students’ lives is just not enough, I guess. I’ll take my “5” and go teach elsewhere.

posted by: Eddie on April 30, 2013  5:26pm

Yet again anonymous engages in disingenuous, irrelevant, and empirically vacuous attacks. Why must some posters use any article on NHI to attack unions, despite the actual subject of the article? 

CCNE’s campaigns are described in detail on their website: http://www.ctneweconomy.org/campaigns/  It is not an organization that advocates for suburban interests at the disadvantage of New Haven.  Note that the Jobs Pipeline actually does the exact opposite.  Still it is silly to rehash this debate on every article. 

I would be interested in see a fuller proposal from Carolina, but this doesn’t seem like a bad idea as long as it doesn’t dramatically affect job growth in the city.  Insofar as suburbanites benefit from public goods provided by New Haven, it seems fair to ask them to pay for these goods.  Insofar as suburbanites generate costs by living far from their community, in which they work, it seems fair to ask them to pay for these costs.

posted by: Webblog1 on April 30, 2013  5:31pm

Kermit…Kermit..

Here’s a heads up…

just the mention of a tax increase in today’s tax & debt climate of ever increases taxes,  city and/or state of CT (Gas tax 2% increase in July) is a death-Nell. Malloy knows that…follow his lead.

You cannot do it!

Secondly, the police will not accept foreclosed houses for free to live in or near where they work for fear of retribution by criminals against their families.

Forget that on too.

Kerm, you do not have to be audacious, you just have to be real.

Stay away from taxes and free houses for police, that will get you a beat down quick.

Police and firemen for the most part do not live in New Haven and cannot vote for you, realistically, if they could, they would vote against you.

Advise:

Who ever your campaign strategist is; get rid of him/her.

OUT>>>>>>>>

posted by: Yaakov on April 30, 2013  5:33pm

anonymous:

That’s a fantastic idea. Expand the parking zones and charge people based on residency. If you’re a resident of the zone, you get a parking sticker for free, if you’re a city resident getting a parking sticker for a zone in which you don’t live, it’s more expensive, and if you’re not a city resident, then it’s even more expensive.

That would have the added benefit of bringing in revenue from Yalies who, by law, are required to register their cars in CT (and thereby become subject to New Haven taxes on their cars) but who in fact rarely do so. With this scheme they would have a choice. They could either a) continue to register out of state and pay the much higher fee for an annual parking tag, or b) register in state, get the cheaper parking tag, but begin paying their car tax to New Haven.

Sounds like a win-win situation.

posted by: Threefifths on April 30, 2013  6:01pm

@anonymous.Commuter taxes will never happen.New york had Commuter Taxes for 33 years and in 1999 the courts throw Commuter taxes out.Now New york has a mobility tax and New York has a Income tax for people who work in New York and live in other states.The thing about Commuter Taxes some say is taxation without representation tax commuters can not vote.

posted by: Teacher in New Haven on April 30, 2013  6:32pm

Lets imagine for a moment that we have an excellent teacher.  They score a 5 on TEVAL.  They work after school with kids (unpaid mind you).  They constantly hit their numbers, their students love them, and they are committed to their school and their students.  They started 12 years ago, so they caught 4 years of step freezes, and now make 8,000 less than their friends who started at the same time in different districts.

Now lets imagine that 2 years ago their home, which was in the city, and was a bit of a stretch to afford, was revalued.  Now it costs them $5,000 more to stay in their house.  Then last year they signed up for the magnet lottery, because they live across the street from Davis Street School, and they hoped to get their child in.  But having lost the lottery, their child now gets on a bus to go to Jepson all the way across town.  They have called the police repeatedly for the dirt bikers on their street, but they still wake up at all hours as kids rip past their house with reckless abandon.

So last year they put their home on the market, because for the same price and lower taxes they could live in Hamden and send their kids to the school across the street.

What does Mr. Carolina, or Mr (Ms Mrs) anonymous think that teacher will do when you propose to dock their pay by $700 a year.

The answer of course is that they will leave, along with all the other teachers who can.  Leaving NHPS staffed exclusively with those teachers who couldn’t get jobs elsewhere.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 30, 2013  7:37pm

Well tickle me silly! I totally agree with this. It would be a hard to make happen but I agree. And if folks don’t want to pay it…move here or I am sure their are many that will line up for your job. Or the company’s can move out, because we all know how bad the suburbs want some of our lovly programs next to their homes. :) And want to end the magnet schools fine…we can condense and sell the dam buildings.  I would love to see it implemented on all tax free entity’s. It is a dream and will most likely not happen, up it is nice to think about,

and as always (or at least most of the time) anonymous hit it on the head with his comment.

posted by: anonymous on April 30, 2013  8:40pm

Teacher - did you read the article? The fees and/or taxes are proposed for employees who work in New Haven, but who live in other towns, such as Hamden. 

A teacher who lived on Davis Street would get to park for free, and/or would not have to pay the tax. 

The Davis Street teacher you mention could get a $1,000 raise, while the majority of their colleagues (who mostly live out of town) would effectively see a pay increase of $300 because they would be hit with a parking cost (or other commuter fee) of $700. 

The money gained by the city from the “commuter tax” (or other fee) could be plowed back into infrastructure, trees, street repair, etc. 

If, due to the commuter tax and related policies, 30% of the employee positions currently held by people who live out of town over time went instead to people who live in New Haven, the city would have an additional 1,000 homeowners or renters adding additional millions of dollars per year to the city’s tax base. 

Over time, all of those things would lower the property taxes paid by your Davis Street teacher - or at least prevent New Haven’s tax rate from escalating as quickly as Hamden’s.  So perhaps when Mr. or Mrs. Davis Street retired, they could continue to afford to live in their house.

posted by: Brutus2011 on April 30, 2013  9:31pm

Taxing people who work in New Haven and live outside of New Haven is putting the cart before the horse—not too mention just plain wrong.

City spending must be curtailed before we get “bold and audacious” with new taxes.

My suggestion for “bold and audacious” is to sit down with all the city management unions to drastically cut the city’s pension outlays.

Hate me if you must but no one who makes 6 figures as a government employee should retire with a 6 figure pension unless they made very substantial payments into their pension fund for a long time. For example: Does anyone think Dr. Mayo as the retiring NHPS Superintendent is worthy of a $170,000 per year pension in a city where education is in need of “reform” and just had its credit rating reduced?

The cost is simply too high for this city or any municipality.

You need to show me a lot more, KC.

posted by: anonymous on April 30, 2013  9:42pm

Eddie, writing that the Mayor needs to sit down with the powers-that-be is hardly an attack on Unions. 

I’m not sure why you interpret everything as an attack on our Union friends.  For one thing, there is a clear difference between Unions’ potential impact on state policies, such as income tax or immigration, and those that may impact cities and towns, such as whether to borrow money for new schools, or whether to hire one municipal police officer to stand and work at a nightclub instead of contracting to hire 10 security officers to patrol area streets that are riddled with crime in the evenings.

On the former, I believe that Union influence is extremely helpful to the overall economy and to working families (and should be dramatically expanded).  But on the municipal side, it may at times be incredibly destructive if not balanced by strong elected leadership.  If you saw everything as a Republican-type attack on Unions (as many lower-level Union organizers say they do), you would have trouble making these distinctions.

posted by: HewNaven on April 30, 2013  10:34pm

Wow! Carolina wasn’t kidding about being audacious. Residency of city employees is one of the most divisive political issues I can imagine. I applaud him for bringing this topic to the forefront of the debate, but its definitely going to be tricky to navigate. I look forward to this in the debates!

posted by: William Kurtz on April 30, 2013  11:47pm

anonymous,

Did you read the comment? In ‘Teacher’s’ hypothetical example, the high-performing (but underpaid, partly because of relentless attacks on ’ the unions’) quality teacher sees both his or her taxes go up because of revaluations and access to services go down when his or her child can’t attend the neighborhood school and the police are powerless to fix chronic quality of life issues like dirt bikes. So the hypothetical teacher moves a couple of miles away across a municipal border only to get whacked with a $700 pay cut in the form of a ‘commuter tax’.

posted by: factsifter on May 1, 2013  12:42am

In the early 90s, the City was sued for its unconstitutional residency requirements regarding city jobs, those workers who were previously fired under the residency rules (for not living in new haven) prior to a judge’s ruling successfully sued the City. Imagine trying to place a commuter tax only on government workers who live outside the City.  Think of the potential liabilty for the City. What a reckless statement!  What planet is this candidate living on? As a New Haven resident, I have heard statements like these countless times before by mayoral candidates.  A commuter tax will never pass the State’s general assembly.  And here is why -the suburban representatives outnumber the urban representatives.  At least be bold with something that there is a slight chance that the City could succeed, such as promising that if “I am elected Mayor of New Haven, I will seek full funding of the State’s tax exempt property laws”.  Full funding would add an additional $20-25 million in the City’s coffers.  Whats that, about 5 mills?  Every thing constant, the average homeowner would see a reduction of about $200-250 on their home tax.  Now that would be something to talk about.  Not these incredible “bold and audacious ideas” that have no chance to succeed.  BTW Brutus, Mayo’s pension is funded by the State not the City.

posted by: Tom Burns on May 1, 2013  1:05am

I love you Kerm but that is a stupid idea—its negative, just what we don’t need—how about incentives to have government workers move to New Haven—a penalty for where you choose to live is un-American and illegal to boot—it will never happen but might make some bloggers on this site happy—Again—Positive ideas, not hurtful ones—lets take a blighted neighborhood and make it teachers village—where new teachers could move and interact(this would help in retaining our new teachers as they wont feel alone)—these simple solutions are an embarrassment to anyone with a brain—why would anyone ever want to dictate to someone where they should live—this is America—and do you really want to limit your choice of educators to only those that live in New Haven—Use a carrot not a stick—for those who prefer the stick ARE THE PROBLEM—Tom

posted by: westville man on May 1, 2013  9:06am

This is an IDEA Carolina is floating.

@ Brutus2011- he has some very good cost-cutting ideas that will be rolled out as the platform is made public.
Based on some of your previous writings, I know of 1 or 2 ideas with which you’ll like.

posted by: robn on May 1, 2013  9:23am

I agree with Mayor DeStefano on this one.  Use a carrot, not a stick. We should incentivize homesteading (ala Yale homebuyer tax rebate) in targeted neighborhood with the potential for maximum impact.

posted by: streever on May 1, 2013  9:57am

I think the basic concept here is a wonderful proposal.

New Haven is more than a collection of people—it is an organization, and that organization needs money, plain and simple, and people avoid paying New Haven that money by using the restaurants, employment centers, arts venues, and other highlights without paying the taxes associated with them.

New Haven needs usage fees that collect money from out-of-town individuals. Is this the fairest or best way to levy a usage fee? Maybe, maybe not, but kudos to Carolina for proposing a usage fee.

I think New Haven has a strong need to raise money without raising taxes, because the residents can not afford to live in New Haven with the current cost of property taxes, which are projected to double again in the near future.

It is messy, and will be messy, and will feel unfair to the people who get hit with the usage fees, because they’ll be suddenly paying for something they were getting for free previously.

The problem though is that the organization of New Haven is already saddled with other towns costs. I know that many surrounding towns probably don’t believe they have a homelessness problem, because the scarcity of services they offer means that their impoverished citizens re-located to New Haven.

Without a regional or county-based system of taxation, usage fees are the only way for New Haven to share the costs that provide the services which everyone in the region is benefiting from. (Yes, I consider services for the homeless a benefit for those of us who have homes. We never know where we’ll end up or how, or what will happen in our families, and this type of expense is a social insurance which provides benefit to everyone.)

I don’t know that this is the best way to do that, but I want to see more.

posted by: Curious on May 1, 2013  10:04am

Since we’re talking about crazy ideas, how about anyone who retires after years of service in New Haven with a pension gets 100% of that pension as long as they live IN New Haven.

They get 85% of their pension as long as they live in CT.

They get 50% of their pension if they move anywhere out of state.

If this is state money, then let’s keep it in Connecticut.

Why should Mayo or DeStefano get to retire to Florida and pull $170k out of our coffers every year?

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on May 1, 2013  10:05am

I applaud Mr. Carolina for introducing an issue that has always created a stir.

Most recently fmr. Alderman D. Goldson tried unsuccessfully to bark up the same tree.  Perhaps Mr. Carolina can push buttons that others couldn’t.

FYI Mr. Carolina, New Haven isn’t suffering from a revenue problem.  New Haven is suffering from a spending problem.

I welcome all candidates to introduce budget cutting measures that will sustain the tax base and not drive it away.

So again, I credit Mr. Carolina for at least pushing the envelope.

posted by: Eddie on May 1, 2013  10:21am

Anon,

I’m glad we agree then that CCNE is not trying to impose suburban interests on New Haven.  With regards to your latter point, of course the mayor will need to sit down with all stakeholders. 

Teach in New Haven raises an important point.  These taxes should not create disincentives for good teachers to work in New Haven.  Hopefully such a policy would not alienate too many people.  I look forward to more specific proposals from Carolina.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 1, 2013  2:55pm

Things like a commuter tax, along with PILOT and regional funding of NHPS, are imperfect responses to the underlying problem that has yet to be fundamentally addressed, which is regionalization.

The City of New Haven used to be bounded by the West and Mill Rivers, then it extended to the Quinnipiac River when the Town of Fair Haven joined the City in 1870. Again, in the 1920s, the boundary expanded to include the Town of Westville and the east shore of the Quinnipiac River was annexed to the City of New Haven from East Haven. This is a process that should have continued in accordance with the regionalization of the economy. Unfortunately, governance decided to work in opposition to the economy and archaic municipal boundaries drawn in colonial times when our economy was the beaver skin trade were maintained rather than modernized.

Current municipal boundaries provide a false sense of autonomy to towns that are, in reality, dependent upon one another. New Haven should have a say in how the region’s resources are used and the region should have a say in New Haven’s aldermanic ward system. Whether towns or neighborhoods are annexed to the City like the East Shore or if the relationship is more semi-autonomous (symbolically retaining traditional municipal boundaries) doesn’t really matter so long as governance reflects the geologic, topographic and economic reality of the region.

Short of that, we will be forced to continue this piecemeal, imperfect, and distorted response to regional issues through things like PILOT, NHPS funding, and commuter taxes.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 1, 2013  3:07pm

The negative reaction to this issue in many ways reminds me of people that defend the rich using tax havens to avoid paying income taxes. Things like PILOT, Magnet Schools etc. are a way for the region to pay a fraction of the costs that are incurred to the city by providing the regional economic engine while still feeling like they are contributing a fair share (or more than a fair share), when really they have been getting, by living in suburbs, the equivalent of a 5% tax deal to bring income back into the United States in the example of offshore accounts.

This is also not just a matter of shifting costs around, but solving problems at a regional level so that the costs of extreme conditions like chronic violent crime, child asthma, vehicular crashes, etc. simply go away. New Haven is reimbursed for much of its non-profit organizations, but that merely covers the cost of tax exemption, not the costs that result from having large, concentrated populations of the region’s poor, unemployed, mentally ill, drug addicted, under-educated, malnourished, unhealthy, convicted felons, etc., which often leads to high rates of crime, hospitalization, foreclosure, school drop-out, etc., which are very expensive, yet unnecessary costs. These populations exist not a result of the city, but of a region that forces a city to address these problems essentially alone.

posted by: whathappened on May 1, 2013  8:21pm

streever; Every time I shop or go to a restaurants in New Haven, I pay a “usage fee” which is included in the bill (their costs / taxes).  So do not assume people outside of the city do not pay their share when they visit New Haven. 

Why is it, that when the government has financial problems, there solution is always to raise taxes.  So not only do I have state and local taxes, but now people want a regional tax as well?  I didn’t get a raise this year like many others.  Maybe New Haven like any other government learns to keep things in check. 

For years, the government has grown at 10% a year and no one worried and no one saved for a rainy day.  Cities get a raw deal in general with the concentration of populations but I pay enough taxes as it is and I choose not to live in New Haven. 

As for helping the poor and more social programs.  I understand we need to help me, but programs that start out small and targeted has a habit of growing too large and consuming too much and making things worse.  It is one thing to help a person get on their feet it is another to be used as a crutch by people.

posted by: stick21 on May 2, 2013  4:52pm

Wow, ridiculous for Carolina to float an idea out there that has been previously entertained, failed and make it seem as if it was an original idea…Stupid. His campaign managers should go back to the drawing board, think of ideas that bring promise to New Haven….

Don’t turn your back on those who teach in the city now, when a lot of them supported you in your recent struggles….. CAN’T BELIEVE IT. What this really sounds like is a step in the direction of trying to get Yale University to pay more property taxes and to have their employees pay to commute to this great city. When is he going to mention that and float it as an original idea as well!!  New Haven Police and Fire are not in support of him and won’t be with this lame duck approach!!

posted by: westville man on May 3, 2013  8:56am

Stick21-  I understand from your posts, present and previous, that you dont like Carolina. That much is clear.
But don’t distort facts while doing it- He said we should “re-visit” the idea of a commuter tax. He didnt say it was his idea. And if an idea fails once or twice before, does that matter if it’s an idea worth considering?  Just be honest and say you don’t like him, for whatever reasons.  But make sure the reasons make some sense.

posted by: stick21 on May 3, 2013  11:10am

Westville man- This will be my only time responding to a comment directed directly at me….To be crystal clear I like Kerm. I try to post my comments based on the articles in the NHI. You may not like that, and thats fine with me. But don’t try to influence me to post what you may like to hear. I am not so easily influenced.

And for making sure things make sense; As long as NHI allows me, I will continue to make my comments as I see fit regardless of how someone feels. But your concerns of how I make my comments are appreciated.

Ideas of the past are not bold and audacious.

posted by: GoodNatured on May 3, 2013  11:22am

HOORAY for Carolina signing on to the Democracy Fund!

And I am impressed that he has already generated several possible solutions for getting city employees to live in the city, and therefore keep city taxpayers’ money in town.

I like his thinking, and I like his commitment.

posted by: darnell on May 3, 2013  7:30pm

First, I’d like to applaud Kerm for bringing this issue to the campaign. It is not owned by me or anyone else, whether or not folks weren’t ready for it in the past shouldn’t preclude him or any candidates in the future for pushing a discussion of the clear unbalanced way that New Haven residents are kept from New Haven government employment. Over 60% of the city employees live outside of New Haven. Their salaries on the average are $53,000 and are paid by taxes paid by New Haven homeowners and automobile owners, who average households are $29,000.

Residency was eliminated by the state legislature over 20 years ago, pushed by unions. There is nothing stopping the state legislature from reversing course, except to protect THEIR constituents jobs in the major urban areas. Drive around New Haven and the surrounding highways any day of the week and see how many blacks and New Haven residents you see on the job.

Kerm doesn’t have to worry about the police and fire unions, 80% of them don’t live in and can’t vote in New Haven, so why fear them?

I definitely disagree with this proposed carrot approach. The carrot should be their ability to continue to get paychecks from the New Haven taxpayers. No one is giving homeowners like me a carrot for staying in New Haven, and I don’t get a check from this city government either.

posted by: westville man on May 6, 2013  8:43am

“Wow, ridiculous for Carolina to float an idea out there that has been previously entertained, failed and make it seem as if it was an original idea”

Not trying to “influence” you, Stick21.  Just trying to keep the record straight. An opinion is one thing, twisting the facts is another. He said it was time to re-visit the issue, as reported by NHI.

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