Sen. Will Haskell
Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, during a Zoom conference on 9/12/22

A panel of young state Democrats sought Monday to publicize a recent report which ranked Connecticut third in the nation when it comes to the median income for Gen Z workers between 16 and 24 years old. 

The ranking, published earlier this month by the website GOBankingRates, found that young workers in Connecticut made a median annual income of $39,589. That puts the state in third place behind Massachusetts, where workers in the same age bracket made a median $41,491 annually and Washington, where the median income was $39,976,

During a Monday morning remote press conference, Sen. Will Haskell, a 26-year-old Democrat from Westport, said the news complimented higher education opportunities available in the state.

“Now we know that Connecticut is also a great place to stay after graduation, to start your career, to launch your small business, to grow your family,” Haskell said. 

Haskell joined 31-year-old legislator Rep. Corey Paris, D-Stamford, and Tim Gavin, a 28-year-old state Senate candidate running against Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield. They said recently-passed policies like the paid family and medical leave program adopted in 2019 sent a signal to young workers that Connecticut was a friendly place for young families. 

Haskell accused state Republicans of choosing to highlight what’s wrong with Connecticut rather than celebrating its strengths. 

“Harping on the negative, it might be a savvy campaign strategy but it doesn’t help our state to attract new residents and it doesn’t help our economy grow,” Haskell said. 

In a telephone interview Monday, State Republican Chairman Ben Proto said it was good that Gen Z workers in Connecticut were well compensated because they would be paying among the highest tax rates. 

“Look, at the end of the day if the government, particularly the state and local government, is going to take a substantial part of your income,” Proto said, “being the third best for Gen Z only makes it harder for Gen Z to pay their bills when the government’s taking their money away from them.”

Proto said state Democrats lacked a plan to reduce the tax burden and the cost of living in Connecticut. 

“So when that 16 to 24 year-old is looking for their first apartment or their first car it becomes a whole lot more difficult for them because so much of that roughly $39,000 is being eaten up in taxes,” Proto said.