Hartford delegates may support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, but that didn’t stop his opponent, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, from campaigning today for votes in the Capitol City. Following Bob Barker and “The Price is Right” just 10-minutes before lunch at the Northend Senior Center, DeStefano delivered his estate tax proposal like an evangelical preacher. “I’m gonna yell because this is a yelling group,” he shouted.
He went on to promote the use of the state’s estate tax to fund tax breaks for seniors who purchase long-term care insurance. He estimated that long-term care in the state costs, on average, more than $260 per day for a whopping $96,000 per year. He estimated the average at-home care cost at $114 per visit. “Does anyone here have an estate worth over $2 million?” DeStefano asked the room of more than 30 seniors. The seniors answered back, “No.” DeStefano’s plan is an alternative to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s proposal to repeal it with a phase-out of the tax that raises $150 million in revenue and protect the estates of Connecticut’s richest 2 percent from having to pay taxes, he said. Long-term care will cost the state $1.2 billion half of which is reimbursed by the federal government and another $50 million on at-home care. The total cost this year to the state is $650 million.DeStefano asked the more than 30 seniors if they thought Rell’s plan made sense after he told them it would give tax breaks to some of the state’s wealthiest citizens, such as fashion designer and Greenwich resident, Tommy Hilfiger, who pays taxes on a car assessed at $1.3 million. Chris Cooney, Malloy’s campaign manager, said today that Malloy is not singling out the estate tax to fix the state’s tax system, instead he wants to “analyze the state’s entire tax structure.” The estate tax issue – the one real difference between the candidates – first emerged last month when Malloy told CTNewsJunkie that he would favor rolling back the estate tax. He took a position between Rell, who wants to eliminate it, and DeStefano, who favors retaining it. Malloy argued that cutting the tax creates jobs. DeStefano called that a Republican fantasy that masks giveaways to the rich. Click here to read more about the issue.