A year ago, Gov. Dannel Malloy declared "a new economic reality," noting the critical need to spur the state's economy while calling for an end to the pattern of deficits and tax hikes that have dampened Connecticut's growth.

Judging by a sampling of the legislation proposed this session, this new “era” has apparently not registered with some members of the General Assembly.

Connecticut's Post_recession Jobs Growth
Connecticut’s recovered just 70% of jobs lost during the recession, well below the national average of 182%.

Connecticut has recovered only 72% of the jobs lost in the 2008 recession, while neighboring Massachusetts has posted a 300% recovery.

We saw a drop of 19,000 in total population for 2016, and many wealthier individuals are fleeing our high state taxes.

Now comes news from the legislature's nonpartisan budget office that we face a $65.2 million deficit for fiscal year 2017.

The legislature has proposed and forwarded bills to raise the minimum wage, add more taxes on the wealthy, and implement an expensive, one-size-fits-all paid family leave bill, while some are focusing their energy on almost everything else—except the projected $1.7 billion deficit for 2017-18.

This is an alarmingly detached approach to governing.

Fortunately, however, there are 34 brand-new members of the state House and Senate.

The Senate is evenly split and there's a narrow margin in the House, while leadership from both parties is keenly aware of the challenges Connecticut faces, and who have pledged their help.

We need that help. And we need it now.

We need to pass a sustainable biennial budget, with no business tax increases and no cuts that will create situations compelling property tax increases.

In short, it's time to leave yesteryear's tax hikes and outdated remedies behind.
Doing so will prompt businesses to make job-creating investments here, not elsewhere.

It will also slow the exodus of wealthy taxpayers leaving Connecticut, a significant portion of our income tax revenues.

As far as job recovery is concerned, we need to derail all bills that make it harder and more costly to grow and sustain Connecticut jobs.

Lawmakers must find ways to create hiring and training incentives, particularly for manufacturing jobs, in our school systems within the budget parameters.

Work on this initiative is already well under way by the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House of Representatives.

In short, it's time to leave yesteryear's tax hikes and outdated remedies behind.

The work product at the State Capitol can—and should—reflect the reality on Connecticut's shop floor and storefronts, and honor the reality that state residents face every day at their kitchen tables.


Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.

Filed Under: Connecticut Economy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.