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CT Politics: Local GOP leader joins Texas relief effort, packs more than just supplies

It’s 1,650 miles to Beaumont, Texas.

He’s got a full tank of gas, bottled water, Goldfish Crackers, canned fruit and dog food. Hit it.

Bob Ferguson, Weston’s Republican Town Committee chairman, drove an SUV full of supplies to the hurricane-ravaged Lone Star State last week. It took two days to make the journey.

“Unfortunately, everything is NOT quite as good everywhere,” Ferguson posted on Facebook Friday. “Just heard on the police scanner that a bridge in Lumberton, north of Beaumont has collapsed, stranding many people. The only way to get close is by boat and I’m sorry to say I don’t have one….”


Ferguson, who was an alternate delegate to last year’s Republican National Convention, stayed in a shelter for first responders Thursday night.

“I’ll tell you the spirit of the people in Texas is really amazing,” Ferguson said in a Facebook video.

Ferguson was packing more than just supplies, however.

“Everybody is carrying,” said Ferguson, who is an advancement officer for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Everybody is open carrying, and guess what, the cops don’t even ask if you don’t have your permit, not like Connecticut. Sorry to delve into politics.”

Give and take

Sometimes you have to give up a little to get a return.

Perhaps no one knows this better than Connecticut hedge fund and private equity managers, who CNBC’s Larry Kudlow said could offset their tax losses from the closing the carried interest loophole by Donald Trump from cutting the current 35 percent U.S. corporate tax.

“If you took the corporate rate to 15 percent, you don’t need things like carried interest and a whole variety of other deductions,” Kudlow, the one-time Ronald Reagan budget guru and Redding resident, told Hearst Connecticut Media.

Although Trump’s tax reform plan has yet to be fleshed out, with the president leaving much of the nitty-gritty to Congress and Treasury brass, Kudlow is bullish on the potential savings to investor beneficiaries of the much-criticized loophole.

The bane of Trump in his campaign speeches, during which he called hedge fund managers “paper-pushers” who “get away with murder,” the carve-out allows money managers to pay discounted tax rates on investment profits and fees.

“The lower the corporate rate, the less all these deductions are worth,” Kudlow said.

Connecticut has the third-highest concentration of hedge funds after New York City and London, part of a $3 trillion industry overall that invests in stocks, commodity futures, options and emerging-market debt for an elite clientele of individuals, pension funds and endowments. Most of Connecticut’s hedge funds are along Fairfield County’s Gold Coast, which is also a major private equity hub.

Carried interest is currently taxed at the capital gains rate of 20 percent, plus an additional 3.8 percent investment tax that is a component of the Affordable Care Act. The top tax rate for personal income is 39.6 percent, which supporters of eliminating the carried-interest loophole say could raise up to $17 billion in revenue over the next decade from an industry that has gotten special treatment from the Internal Revenue Service for too long.

“They’ll make a deal on the all the deductions,” Kudlow said of Trump’s tax overhaul. “It’s not ripe yet.”

Territorial about taxes

Peter Schiff is the anti-“West Side Story” when it comes to all things taxes, including tax shelters.

The money manager and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate is marking two years since decamping from Connecticut for Puerto Rico, where he said he pays about 4 percent income tax and no capital gains tax.

The Libertarian Trump detractor, who runs Euro Pacific Capital and has a “summer home” in Connecticut, isn’t holding his breath for meaningful tax reform.

“Even if we get tax cuts, the odds that there’s any meaningful simplification is pretty thin,” Schiff told Hearst. “The president was promising tax relief for the middle class. OK, what government programs are we going to eliminate? We can’t afford these tax cuts until we cut government spending.”

http://twitter.com/gettinviggy; nvigdor@hearstmediact.com; 203-625-4436


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