The Connecticut Economic Competitiveness Diagnostic, recently presented to the state’s Commission on Economic Competitiveness, may have arrived too late in the 2016 General Assembly Session to be an immediate catalyst for the changes we need in Connecticut.
However, it can and must be the blueprint for legislative candidates’ platforms in the 2016 elections and for legislative action in the 2017 General Assembly session.
While we believe Connecticut is a great place for business, we must also confront the realities of the competitive world in which our companies operate.
The value of the diagnostic report is that it harbors no bias and offers no specific recommendations.
Rather, it provides an objective, data-driven snapshot of Connecticut’s competitive position.
In doing so, it highlights some of the state’s most important competitive strengths—notably its talented workforce, high-value industries and world-class companies, excellent quality of life, and one of the best education systems in the country.
However, it also brings to light an array of troubling trends: wealth is leaving the state along with young, educated adults; post-recession job growth has lagged the nation and region and is occurring primarily in older companies and low-earning sectors; and other states are closing the gap on some of Connecticut’s traditional economic advantages.
In addition, the report makes reference to the growing recognition that the state’s ongoing inability to solve its massive fiscal problems is dragging Connecticut down.
Lurching between deficits and tax increases has a chilling effect on private-sector investment, hindering business and job growth.
In addition, the state’s continual lurching between deficits and tax increases and more deficits and tax increases has a chilling effect on private-sector investment, hindering business and job growth and putting downward pressure on state revenues.
For too long, many of our elected officials have ignored Connecticut’s falling national economic competitiveness rankings and a growing body of economic, fiscal, and demographic data that warned of difficult times ahead unless state government changed the way it does business.
CBIA’s CT20x17 campaign, our policy positions, and our arguments around fiscal and economic issues over the last several years have presaged the troubling trends identified in the Connecticut Economic Competitiveness Diagnostic.
Absent bold action, those trends will continue.
Joe Brennan is CBIA's president and CEO.