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Letter: Norwalk Receives 9 Cents Back For Every Tax Dollar It Sends

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To the editor:

Does voting for an incumbent with seniority in the Senate provide you and your family with better representation in Hartford? In the past 14 years, Norwalkers seem to have wagered that because of the apparent power Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff has accumulated during the course of his political career, they will receive special benefits from the state as a result. 

I am a business owner in a fast-paced global economy. I can’t rely on gut feelings when I make decisions about my business and my children's’ futures. I have to take a look at the numbers to see if they support my initial hunches. 

That’s why I decided to test what Duff’s “power of incumbency” means for parents, business owners and all residents who pay taxes in Norwalk. Let’s take the ratio of taxes paid to the state versus state payments to municipalities, numbers that the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and Department of Revenue Services compile. This is a pretty good indicator, since it measures how much funding your town gets in return for every dollar you and your neighbors pay to Hartford. The results are, to say the least, astonishing. Or, in the case of many Norwalk and Darien families who live paycheck to paycheck, these results are infuriating and wholly unacceptable.

If you are a Darien resident, your town receives one cent in return for every tax dollar you pay to Hartford. Yes, one cent, and a net loss of almost $200 million from state taxes. Dan Malloy thanks you very much for your altruism and appreciates your understanding why he has much better uses for your salaries than you do. 

Norwalk has to look better right? After all, we’ve always known Duff isn’t interested in representing Darien families. Well, Norwalk’s return is higher than the penny Darien receives for every dollar, but at a measly nine cents it’s not enough to make anyone feel any better about it. 

No, for all of Duff’s supposed power in the Capitol, he isn’t able to return even a dime for every dollar Norwalkers send to Hartford. About $149 million from Norwalk leaves the city and goes elsewhere. 

This brings us back to the question of seniority being a factor when you vote. If Norwalk receives such a paltry return on investment from its taxes, what is Duff doing up there? He is not protecting good-paying, middle class jobs by working to ensure companies like GE stay in Connecticut. He is not fighting to retain funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers, which provide health care to people in need. He is not working to make long-term structural changes to the budget that are necessary for the state’s fiscal stability. 

Duff gets elected again and again because working families see him taking pictures with firemen and attending their kids’ graduations. He wants you to think he’s the only one who has “stepped up” to fill the position. I implore you to take a serious look at Duff’s record. 

Not even a dime back on every tax dollar Norwalk sends to Hartford? Give me a break, Sen. Duff. It’s time for someone new to represent Norwalk.

Greg Ehlers

Ehlers, a Darien Republican, is challenging state Sen. Bob Duff for a seat in the state Senate. 

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