In January 2016, when General Electric announced it was moving its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston, CBIA cautioned policymakers the company's decision should not be treated as a one-off event.
We pointed out that the conditions that led to GE's move exist for many companies in the state and how policymakers react impacts decisions other businesses make about their investments here and elsewhere.
Now, a little more than a year later, it appears conditions here have not changed enough to prevent another iconic Connecticut company—Aetna—from considering a headquarters relocation to another state.
While no final decision has been made by the company, the message—either stated or implied—is that several thousand Aetna jobs would remain here.
But there is no guarantee that those jobs will stay if we don't see the fundamental changes to the business environment necessary to make businesses and the state more competitive and more attractive for investment.
Lawmakers' decisions have a direct, immediate impact on our ability to keep jobs here and attract the young talent businesses need.
To be sure, companies are looking at major metro areas like New York and Boston as optimal places for recruiting young professionals, but it's misguided to think that's the only reason a corporation would decide to move its headquarters.
In conversations we've had with Aetna over the years, it's clear their concerns centered on policy choices made by state government—largely around fiscal issues—and our overall business and regulatory environment.
Aetna is one of the world's great companies and plays an indispensable role in so many Connecticut communities and in the lives of so many of our residents.
We certainly hope the company will continue to maintain a large presence in our state, and we also hope policymakers understand the considerable influence they have over that decision through the choices they make in the weeks, months, and years to come.