ECONOMY OF CONNECTICUT

The total gross state product for 2006 was $204 billion. The per capita income for 2007 was $54,117, ranking first among the states. There is, however, a great disparity in incomes throughout the state; although New Canaan has one of the highest per capita incomes in America, Hartford is one of the ten cities with the lowest per capita incomes in America. As with Bridgeport, New Haven and other cities in the state, Hartford is surrounded by wealthier suburbs.

New Canaan is the wealthiest town in Connecticut, with a per capita income of $85,459. Darien, Greenwich, Weston, Westport and Wilton also have per capita incomes over $65,000. Hartford is the poorest municipality in Connecticut, with a per capita income of $13,428 in 2000. There are other lower-income and blue-collar towns, mostly parts of towns, in the eastern part of the State.

Taxation
Prior to 1991, Connecticut had a highly populist income tax system. Income from employment was untaxed, but income from investments was taxed at the highest rate in the U.S. at 13%. And this burden was further increased by the method of calculation: no deductions were allowed for the cost (for example, interest on borrowing) of producing the investment income. Under Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., an Independent, this was reformed to the present system. The system made it an attractive haven for high-salaried earners fleeing the heavy taxes of New York State, but highly unattractive for members of Wall Street partnerships. It put an enormous burden on Connecticut property tax payers, particularly in the cities with their more extensive municipal services.

With Weicker's 1991 tax reform, the tax on employment and investment income were equalized at a maximum rate of 4%. Since then, Greenwich, Connecticut, has become the headquarters of choice for a large number of America's largest hedge funds. Today the income tax rate on Connecticut individuals is divided into two tax brackets of 3% and 5%. All wages of a Connecticut resident are subject to the state's income tax, even when the resident works outside of the state. However, in those cases, Connecticut income tax must be withheld only to the extent the Connecticut tax exceeds the amount withheld by the other jurisdiction. Since New York state has higher tax rates than Connecticut, this effectively means that Connecticut residents that work in New York state pay no income tax to Connecticut.

Connecticut levies a 6% state sales tax on the retail sale, lease, or rental of most goods. Some items and services in general are not subject to sales and use taxes unless specifically enumerated as taxable by statute. There are no additional sales taxes imposed by local jurisdictions. During the summer there is one week during which sales tax on certain items and quantities of clothing is not imposed in order to assist those with children returning to school. All real and personal property located within the state of Connecticut is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. All assessments are at 70% of fair market value. Another 20% of the value may be taxed by the local government though. The maximum property tax credit is $500 per return and any excess may not be refunded or carried forward. Connecticut does not levy an intangible personal property tax.

Real estate
Homes in Connecticut vary widely with a median price of approximately $226,000. By contrast, the median value for a home in Fairfield County, for example, is about $370,000. Connecticut has the most multi-million dollar homes in the Northeast, and the second most in the nation after California, with 3.3% of homes in Connecticut priced over $1 million in 2003.
Industries
The agricultural produce of the state includes nursery stock; eggs; clams and lobster (shellfish); dairy products; cattle; and tobacco. Its industrial output includes transportation equipment, especially helicopters, aircraft parts, and nuclear submarines; heavy industrial machinery and electrical equipment; military weaponry; fabricated metal products; chemical and pharmaceutical products; and scientific instruments.

Due to the prominence of the aircraft industry in the state, Connecticut has an official state aircraft, the F4U Corsair, and an official Connecticut Aviation Pioneer, Igor Sikorsky. The state officially recognizes aircraft designer Gustav Whitehead as "Father of Connecticut Aviation" for his research into powered flight in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1901, two years before the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Governor John Dempsey also declared August 15 to be "Gustave Whitehead Day".

A report issued by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism on December 7, 2006, demonstrated that the economic impact of the arts, film, history and tourism generated more than $14 billion in economic activity and 170,000 jobs annually. This provides $9 billion in personal income for Connecticut residents and $1.7 billion in state and local revenue.

Luciano Mende

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