Forty-five business and professional organizations, including the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, have thrown their support behind a multiyear campaign aimed at strengthening the state's economy.

In an open letter published in newspapers across the state today, the organizations announced the CT20x17 campaign, designed to leverage Connecticut's considerable assets, address our competitive weaknesses, and provide businesses reasons to invest, grow, and create jobs here.

"Today, we're at an economic crossroads," the letter reads. "Our economic recovery has not kept pace with the national and regional economies. It is critical that we break that pattern and unlock the state's enormous potential.

"Making Connecticut a top state for business by 2017 will accelerate our economic recovery. That's why we're proud to support the CT20x17 campaign and its framework of commonsense policies."

Low rankings

The letter notes that many independent national reports, including CNBC's America's Top States for Business, rank the state's overall business climate among the bottom 10 states overall.

While Connecticut typically rates highly for its quality of life, education, technology and innovation, and access to capital, the reports usually rank the state toward the bottom in other key areas, including economic climate, business costs, infrastructure, and regulatory environment.

“Those rankings highlight Connecticut’s competitive weaknesses and contribute to an overall negative perception of the state, making it very difficult to attract the types of private sector investments we need to build a strong, vibrant economy,” said CBIA president and CEO John Rathgeber.

“We must address those weaknesses. If we don’t commit to improving our competitiveness, businesses will look to other states to invest, grow, and create jobs, further shortchanging our economic recovery.”

Policy framework

The letter includes the following policy framework:

  • Talent. Fully implement Connecticut education reforms and continue improving public higher education to create a pipeline of skilled talent.
  • Fiscal Policy. Adopt balanced state budgets that support critical public services and stay within taxpayer means, reduce long-term debt, and create a more competitive tax structure.
  • Transportation. Identify and accelerate priority investments in roads, bridges, transit systems, and air and sea ports—and protect the Special Transportation Fund.
  • Business Costs. Reduce the cost of doing business in Connecticut, including lowering energy costs and dropping unnecessary employer mandates.
  • Red Tape. Continue expanding efficiency practices to all areas of government, follow through on comprehensive regulatory reforms, and make state agencies more user-friendly.

The organizations called for legislators "to work together in a bipartisan manner and make CT20x17 a reality," adding that voters needed to ask questions of elected officials and hold them accountable.

"Everyone benefits," concludes the letter. "A strong, growing economy means more opportunities for good, well-paying jobs. It means protecting our quality of life. And it means guaranteeing a better future for our children and grandchildren."