Gubernatorial candidate Stefanowski proposes end to state income tax

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NORWALK -

Bob Stefanowski, an investment banker who is running as a Republican candidate for governor, pitched a plan in Norwalk Tuesday to strike out Connecticut's state income tax.

It would cost the state $9 billion a year. 

"We've been taxing and spending for the last 25 years," he says. "We've got the slowest growth in the nation. We've got massive budget deficits. To me, it's common sense that you start to turn that around."

He says his plan would attract enough people and jobs to move here that he could make up the money within eight years, and Arthur Laffer, a former economist for President Ronald Reagan, is backing the idea.

"You guys are addicted to a system that's going to kill you," Laffer says. "If you don't stop smoking now, you've got a much higher chance of dying."

Democrats say that unlike Southern states that don't tax incomes, Connecticut can't afford to cover its pension payments without them. And Laffer's approach failed in Kansas.

"The candidate for governor would have to look into the eyes of the middle class and talk about how they're raising property taxes at the local level," says state Sen. Bob Duff, a Democrat. "They'd have to talk about how they're going to ignore our transportation needs."

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who's also running for governor, has suggested phasing out the state income tax too.

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