"Nothing's easy." Lately I find myself saying those words too many times a day.

Our world seems to get more complex and challenging all the time. For us at CBIA and our members, this is particularly true in our fight to make Connecticut as economically competitive as possible.


CNBC's 2018 business climate survey ranked Connecticut in the bottom 10 states in four key categories—infrastructure (47th), cost of doing business (46th), economy (45th), and cost of living (43rd).

The just completed 2019 General Assembly session presented its own set of both familiar and unique challenges.

Familiar in that we faced a slew of proposed bills that would make it more difficult to expand operations in our state.

Unique in that we had one of the largest classes of new legislators in years and a new administration populated with many people from the private sector, including the governor.

'Tough' Year for Small Business

It was a tough year for small businesses, with the passage of an expansive paid family and medical leave mandate and a steeply higher minimum wage, among others.

Small businesses have a hard enough time competing and succeeding here without adding to their costs and administrative burdens.

On the whole, our team did a wonderful job stopping many more harmful bills than were passed.

But the reality is that all the bills that didn't move forward this session will be back, until we can get all policymakers to make economic growth a bigger priority.

Hard on the heels of the session's end came the news of United Technologies Corporation's decision to merge with defense contractor Raytheon and relocate its headquarters to the Greater Boston area.

It's always painful to lose the headquarters of an iconic brand like UTC, and while there are typically many reasons why a company relocates, these types of decisions must spark a greater sense of urgency in Connecticut.

Reasons to Fight

What we must do is give CEOs more reasons to fight for Connecticut when they're negotiating with new partners on where to locate headquarters and jobs.

Because of the growing concern among many corporate decision makers about Connecticut's policy direction, we lose out in too many of these deals.

What's also disheartening are comments from some legislators who always excuse these losses as having nothing to do with their policy decisions or that we can't compete with larger metropolitan areas.

We have to fight harder to compete by creating an environment that's so attractive to companies they're fighting to stay and come here.

Granted, bigger cities have an advantage right now in attracting capital and talent, but what are we doing to differentiate Connecticut?

We have to fight harder to compete by creating an environment that's so attractive to companies they're fighting to stay and come here.

That works for employees and the state, not just businesses.


About the author: Joe Brennan is CBIA's president and CEO.