Now That GE Is Leaving…

01.18.2016
Economy

What does Connecticut need to do to encourage businesses to stay, grow, and invest here?
General Electric’s decision to move its headquarters to Boston is a blow to our state, but given the steady stream of legislation that has threatened business competitiveness over the last several years, it’s not unexpected.

Source: 2015 Survey of Connecticut Businesses.

Source: 2015 Survey of Connecticut Businesses.

CBIA member surveys echo the concerns expressed by GE and other Connecticut companies after the second-largest tax hike in state history. And businesses aren’t the only ones pulling up stakes.
According to United Van Lines’ most recent National Movers Study–released Jan. 2–which reviews where customers pack up and leave from and where they’re headed, Connecticut was one of the top five states people left in 2014.
brief by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy finds that the number of people leaving Connecticut each year increased from 12,000 between 1993 and 2010 to 13,500 between 2011 and 2013.
The brief puts the average income per person leaving the state at $142,000.
Now what?
It’s clear that we need a real game-changing strategy.
To begin with, state legislators have to commit to fiscal and policy stability so that businesses can plan and invest here.
Massachusetts, which had higher business costs than Connecticut, has steadily lowered those costs and stayed on track.
New York, too, has cut business taxes.
Certainly social services and other factors put no less pressure on those states’ budgets than they do on Connecticut’s budget.
But Massachusetts, New York, and other states have found a way to enact real change. So should we.

Massachusetts, New York, and other states have found a way to enact real change. So should Connecticut.

Our state legislature needs to announce—and commit to—a long-term period of "do no harm."
Committee chairs and legislative leaders have to:

  • Recognize and reject anti-business legislation and new business taxes
  • Stick to a schedule of business tax changes passed in special sessions as well as a rollback of the corporate tax surcharge
  • Commit to reforming state agencies, work practices, and programs to create a sustainable budget that grows only relative to our ability to pay for it
  • Work with the administration and the unions to demand an end to egregious practices like using overtime to pad pensions and unaffordable pay hikes

And they need to state a long-term commitment to keeping these promises—like the next five years.
Think about it: Businesses plan several years out; they have to have a handle on the fiscal and tax landscape where they operate.
It can’t keep changing, and changing for the worse, or we’ll be saying goodbye to more GEs.

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CBIA IS FIGHTING TO MAKE CONNECTICUT A TOP STATE FOR BUSINESS, JOBS, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. A BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE MEANS A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.