TAXATION AND PUBLIC SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM IN CONNECTICUT
Beginning in 1977, Connecticut has been developing a school finance equalization plan, funded out of General Revenue. This dissertation examines Connecticut's school finance equalization plan, and concludes that it is inadequate for its stated goals.
The dissertation begins with an examination of theory. There are two parts to this examination: (1) taxation theory; and (2) school finance theory. Taxation theory includes a vigorous debate on the merits of progressive taxation. The author favors progressive taxation based on the "proportionate sacrifice" standard. Taxation theory has developed attribution mechanisms for each tax to determine its incidence.
School finance theory is the theory of how to measure school finance equity. Different measures of equal per-pupil expenditures are developed and explained here.
The author explains his methodology, and then derives 14 measures of school finance equity. Using data from Connecticut, the author shows that the state's system of school finance is inequitable, even in comparison to other states. The author examines Connecticut's school finance equalization plan, its history, and institutional evolution. From these, he presents arguments why Connecticut's equalization plan may not be working.
The author then examines Connecticut's state taxes, and its property tax. The methodology of the study is explained at length. The author then derives the incidence of Connecticut's state taxes and fees, and of Connecticut's property tax. Both taxes are regressive, of roughly equal degree. Consequently, the tax system is inequitable, as well.
Both Connecticut's school finance and the taxation funding it are inequitable. The author concludes the study with suggestions for further research, and for improving equity in school finance and taxation.