On November 14, the Journal Inquirer ran an opinion piece written by Alan and Gerald Zordan, owners of Borgeson Universal Co., a CBIA member company that manufactures steering components.

The pace of state government spending far exceeds the growth in population, inflation, and median household income.

Borgeson Universal Co. had operated in Torrington since 1914.

Regrettably, the article outlined why the Zordans were moving their company to South Carolina.

A major factor, they said, was the unpredictability of Connecticut’s tax climate brought about by ever-increasing government spending.

“Staying in Connecticut would require us to speculate on how much more our taxes and costs will go up as state government fails to pass a balanced budget,” they wrote.

I don’t highlight this story to point out any negatives about our great state, but rather to underscore the urgency of the ongoing budget negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders and make clear the link between fiscal responsibility and economic competitiveness.

As we often say, the best economic development program would be Connecticut getting its fiscal house in order without tax increases.

Here’s why that’s true.

Business owners need the tax predictability that comes with a stable fiscal situation to have confidence that they’ll get a reasonable return on their investments. Otherwise, they won’t make those investments here.

In turn, the state needs private-sector investment to grow economically. Economic growth is essential for job creation.

This inter-connectedness is obvious to businesspeople, but not necessarily to others.

I applaud the governor and legislative leaders from both parties for coming to the bipartisan budget negotiations with plans that don’t resort to tax increases.

A strong economy is in everyone’s interest.
But just as we’re told that everything needs to be on the table in tax discussions, the same should be true when it comes to spending reductions.

Success will be defined not only by an agreement that effectively mitigates budget deficits in the current biennium, but by whether bold steps are taken to restructure and reform state government in a way that keeps state spending levels sustainable—in good economic times and in bad—for years to come.

I believe the current and subsequent budget talks will succeed if policymakers focus on the core functions of government—public health, public safety, public education, the social safety net, transportation, and the like—rather than try to be all things to all people.

Our government shouldn’t be just about serving the needs of one or more interest groups; its priority should be the general welfare of Connecticut, serving the public interest.

When too much energy and resources are spent on narrow special interests, the critical importance of having a vibrant, robust economy tends to get lost.

And that’s unfortunate, because a strong economy is in everyone’s interest.
—Joe Brennan