Last week, non-profit Hartford HealthCare said they would cut the jobs of over 400 people if the state increased taxes on hospitals to what they say are unsustainable rates.
Yet, this past month, the state’s Office of Health Care Access released data that says over 19 Connecticut healthcare executives were paid over $1 million last year - with many more making just under that mark. But, you won't see all of the high salaries unless you look somewhere else.
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, is also upset about taxes and will look for a “state with a more pro-business environment" if Connecticut imposes new corporate taxes on them and other big corporations around the state. Yet, GE reports Immelt's 2014 compensation was over $18 million.
At first glance, these salaries seem unfair not only because of the widening pay gap between CEO's and their employees, but because non-profit hospitals get tax breaks with the understanding they'll give back to the community. And, large private corporations get generous tax incentives to set-up shop or stay put in Connecticut, like the $400 million approved by the legislature last year to help United Technologies expand their facilities.
On the flip side, some might defend those big salaries as a small price to pay to attract executives able to manage complex systems that bring jobs and a higher quality of life to the communities in which they operate. You be the judge.
In the meantime, the latest jobs data says that while Connecticut employers added 6,400 jobs in May - many of them are low-wage service jobs that don’t bring a lot of state revenue.
So, with the pay gap widening and overall economic growth sluggish, CEO pay, whether in the public or private sector, may not be the biggest problem in our economy. But, it may reflect a lack of accountability and unsustainable demand when no one is willing to give.
Today, we talk about CEO pay and the state of Connecticut’s economy.
- Ellen Andrews - Executive Director, Connecticut Health Policy Project
- Fred Carstensen - Director, CT Center for Economic Analysis, Professor of Finance and Economics, University of Connecticut. CCEA studied the impact of the proposed tax on hospitals.
- Dan Haar - Columnist and blogger for the Hartford Courant
- Richard Gunderman - physician and Chancellor’s professor, Indiana University