March 30, 2011
FULL DISCLOSURE FOR TAX BREAKS
The public has every right to know what businesses in the state enjoy tax breaks and what kind of savings they realize as a result.
It is the public after all - all the other taxpayers - that assumes the burden of additional taxes when corporations pay less.
So what is the harm of legislation proposed by state Rep. Edward E. Moukawsher, the Democratic serving Groton and New London from the 40th District? It would require the state Department of Revenue Services to compile an annual list for public disclosure that identifies every business in the state receiving tax breaks, and the full value of the credits and exemptions.
It certainly seems like a simple request to make these tax breaks transparent. And timely, given the long list of proposed new taxes the governor has proposed and lawmakers are considering.
But according to a Connecticut Mirror story published Tuesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association are fighting hard to keep specifics of the tax breaks under wrap, arguing such disclosure could force jobs out of state and potentially divulge proprietary corporate information.
Really? That seems rather dramatic. In fact, it would seem that disclosing details of the $300 million in corporation tax credits and exemptions might do more to lure other big businesses into Connecticut, not out of state.
Besides, those are public dollars owed that are being forgiven, which makes transparency all the more important.
Given all the opposition, Rep. Moukawsher's bill is a long shot, but we support its passage.