Connecticut's Senate debated the paid sick leave bill (SB 913) for six hours yesterday before passing it. The damage to the state's struggling economy will last for years.

"This is just a terrible piece of legislation. This is an anti-jobs, anti-business bill, despite what was said on the floor," CBIA's Joe Brennan said after the vote.

"We've done nothing — again, nothing — to encourage businesses to grow in Connecticut.''

The Senate voted 18-17 to pass SB 913. One Republican, Senator John Kissel of Enfield, joined with the Democratic majority in supporting the bill. Another Republican, Senator Len Fasano (North Haven), was absent.

Five Democrats (Senators Gayle Slossberg of Milford, Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Bob Duff of Norwalk, Joan Hartley of Waterbury and Andrew Maynard of Stonington) voted no.

Widening gap

The House of Representatives likely will take up SB 913 within the next few days. Governor Dannel Malloy indicated he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Of any bill that's surfaced during the 2011 General Assembly, none more clearly illustrates the widening gap between lawmakers' election campaign pledges and their legislative actions.

"This is a bad bill," said Senate Deputy Minority Leader Rob Kane (R-Waterbury) during yesterday's debate. "And it hurts good people."

Along with the so-called captive audience bill (HB 5460), SB 913 sends a contrary message to the legislative session's current  "open for business" theme.

Connecticut lost 119,000 jobs during the recession. Our  unemployment rate remains at 9.1 percent, above the national average. The state's net job growth over the last 20 years is zero.

The state consistently ranks near last in performance rankings for competiveness, business climate, and costs of doing business.

"Turning their backs"

“There are good reasons why no other state has such a mandate,” said CBIA's Brennan. “It significantly raises costs, empowers the state to micro-manage business operations, and seriously damages our ability to compete and create jobs.

“Lawmakers who supported this bill turned their backs on the concerns of our local businesses and walked away from their commitments to support our economic recovery and job creation.

“It’s a real travesty that on paid sick leave, they’re listening to everyone except the people who actually create jobs and drive our economy.

"If they listened to the people who employ Connecticut residents and create jobs, they’d understand that this bill is nothing more than another barrier to improving the state’s standing as a place to do business.”

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Brennan noted that other states — including Connecticut’s neighbors — are tearing down barriers to job creation.

“Here in Connecticut we’re putting them up,” he said. “However, there’s still time for legislators to take actions to restore business confidence and create a brighter future for everyone in Connecticut."