Connecticut’s general-obligation bonds are riskier than ever as plummeting income-tax collections and a $2.3 billion budget deficit moved all three credit rating companies to downgrade its debt.
As Bloomberg details, tax receipts for the current fiscal year ending in June will be about $451 million short of estimates from January, prompting Governor Dannel Malloy to empty the state’s already small budget stabilization fund. To help close the gap, public employees agreed to accept a 3-year wage freeze and to contribute more for their pension and health-care benefits under a tentative deal that would save more than $1.5 billion over the next two years.
As we previously detailed, The state of Connecticut has been hit hard by the double whammy of a deteriorating local economy, coupled with a plunge in hedge fund profits - as well as hedge fund managers permanently relocating to Florida - leading to a collapse in tax revenues. According to the the latest Connecticut budget released last week, the state is reeling from the consequences of sliding tax revenue from the super-rich, i.e. the state's hedge fund managers. The latest figures showed that tax revenue from the state’s top 100 highest-paying taxpayers declined 45% from 2015 to 2016. The drop adds up to a $200 million revenue loss for Connecticut.
In a dramatic, if of questionable credibility, soundbite Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan says these wealthy people are “dramatically less wealthy than they were before.” He was referring to annual income, not actual asset holdings, because judging by the all time high in the S&P, the local financial elite have never had a higher net worth.
“When you look at the top 75, top 50 ... this is a group of wealthy people who are dramatically less wealthy than they were before,” said Kevin Sullivan, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. “These folks, for a number of reasons, are either not realizing as much income or don’t have as much income.”
Just don't expect tears from the general public. Sullivan also noted how several international hedge funds have recently failed, resulting in “significant retrenchment” from investors. That drop in tolerance for risk brings smaller margins and ultimately less personal income for the state to tax, he added. It's fascinating how the Fed's central planning, superficially meant to restore "confidence" in a rigged, manipulated market is having such proound and adverse 2nd and 3rd order effects on state budgets.
Sullivan also acknowledged part of revenue decline can also be attributed to “a handful” of wealthy individuals who moved to more tax-friendly states — an issue frequently raised by legislative Republicans, who argue Connecticut’s tax policies encourage the state’s super-rich to move out.
None of this should be a surprise... it's no wonder more people than ever are looking to leave the increasing tax burden of this troubled state?