Fiscal Victory Gardens

Op-ed by Representative Anne Hughes

Growing Connecticut’s economy and harvesting Victory Gardens may sound like naïve analogy, but let’s go there.

I recall my parents telling me about the Victory Gardens their families planted during WWII in their front yards, in response to scarcity and rationing of food, yes, but also in public solidarity and support of the soldiers and the sacrifices we were making as a nation. Everyone in the neighborhood had them: my grandparents planted beans, squash, tomatoes and lettuce in their yard in Landsdown, PA, and dad’s family dutifully cultivated their front yard in Chicago, Ill.

It was a lasting symbol of resiliency, resourcefulness and determination, a positive legacy of the war that my parents continued from the early 70s in our backyard in Fairfield, CT, until Dad passed away in 2010. Dad was a scientist, environmentalist, a conservationist, and a pragmatic public school teacher. Our suburban "victory garden" made economic sense to augment the feeding of our family of seven on a schoolteacher’s salary, in addition to serving as an open workshop destination for the whole neighborhood.

Today, our CT community faces a seminal moment: a fiscal crisis of extreme inequity, a budget crisis of several billion-dollar deficit, a climate crisis that out-alarms all of the above, and a moral crisis about how and WHEN we shall respond to both.

We need the kind of public leadership that we saw across the country with the wave of Victory Garden plantings. We need the most fortunate who have grown their resources in wealth through capital gains and dividends to share a "tithe" of this harvest for the public good...and make Financial Victory Gardens a meme in CT for everyone who has a harvest to follow (Increase of 2% on the top 5%, couples with incomes over $500,000 – raising 874 million annually; increase of 2% on Capital Gains and Dividends to 8.5% and 10.75% respectively, to raise $427 million annually.)

We know that when we plant and invest in the community where we live, we create the same kind of bonds of determination, resilience and connection that ultimately helped win WWII. We are in a new era and crisis, yet we believe we can pull the solution out of the "ground" beneath us. Let’s start with a "harvest tithe" of the Victory Garden wave of dividends and of the top-tiered financially fortunate, and plant our share of the harvest back into CT and watch our CT community grow with pride and resilience. When we do this together, we are already victorious.

We believe in rebuilding CT. Let’s lead this trend with a moral solution to our budget crisis, and rebuild our cathedral of CT by investing our "Fair Share" of harvests back into our beloved community.

If we continue to balance CT’s budget on the backs of the middle and modest-income earners, while FAILING to restore an estimated $60,000 per person federal tax giveaway to our 1% from the Trump Tax Scam, and restore that savings back into CT to the tune of 2.16 BILLION dollars annually from those 36,000 (top 1%) CT residents, (pretty much closing the 2-year budget hole), then we are in COLLUSION with the Trump federal tax scam.

We’ve got no business colluding with adding trillions of federal deficit onto our children’s backs, while we are slammed with State and Local Income Tax deductions cap due to this scam. We have an urgent moment to restore fairness in our tax policy, and STOP the shift 73 million of teacher and pension costs from the state budget onto our municipalities, forcing towns to raise property taxes. Enough of the collusion, CT!

— Anne Hughes, State Rep. of 135th District

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