Last fall's special legislative session showed what Connecticut's policymakers can do when they focus on jobs.

In changing course from recent sessions that raised taxes and adopted costly mandates, the special session was marked by bipartisan action and progress toward rebuilding our state’s economic competitiveness.

However, as the countdown begins to February 8 and the 2012 General Assembly session, the key, as CBIA president and CEO John Rathgeber says, "is what happens next."

“The special session showed what can happen when politics are put aside and the focus is squarely on jobs and economic growth,”  he said today..

“But now it’s critical that Connecticut shows it can and will be business friendly, and that policymakers and regulators are open to the concerns and interests of employers and their ideas for moving forward.”

Education reform

Rathgeber also noted that the business community welcomed Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s recently released education initiatives and the positive reactions from both the Democrat and Republican leadership.

“The education reform principles outlined by the Governor are a sign of real progress in ensuring that every child in Connecticut has the opportunity to succeed.” he said.

“If we’re going to compete and grow as a state, today’s global economy demands that we raise the academic performance of all students.”

In releasing CBIA’s 2012 Government Affairs Program, Rathgeber urged lawmakers to make state government more efficient, avoiding future deficits, and to collaborate with employers, small and large, to create jobs and grow the state’s economy.

2012 priorities

He outlined the following legislative and regulatory priorities:

  1. Improve Fiscal Policy, Reduce Business Costs: Keep the size and cost of state government within taxpayers’ means by making it more efficient and controlling the growth of spending; leverage state tax policy to help drive our economy.
  2. Prepare Our Future Workforce: Provide all young people with the education they need to be productive citizens and contributors to Connecticut’s economic competitiveness.
  3. Modernize Infrastructures: Modernize Connecticut’s transportation infrastructures through prioritized investments and improve energy reliability in the state.
  4. Cut Red Tape: Reform regulatory policies to create economic growth and enable employers to increase jobs.

Joe Brennan, CBIA senior vice president for public policy, said those priorities recognized both the state’s strengths and its weaknesses.

For example, he pointed out that while Connecticut was home to a highly skilled, highly compensated workforce, numerous government mandates make business costs among the highest in the country.

“We live in a dynamic, global economy and we have to become more competitive — just as other states are working hard to make their businesses more competitive," he said.

“It’s time to move forward and recognize that strong businesses mean plentiful jobs, a thriving economy, and more opportunities for everyone.”