After five hours of debate across both chambers of the General Assembly, the bipartisan jobs bill passed with near-unanimous support last night and now has a date later today with Governor Dannel Malloy's pen.
CBIA president and CEO John R. Rathgeber said the business community was pleased at the scope of the bill, HB 6801, “An Act Promoting Economic Growth and Job Creation in the State.”
“I think it’s significant that the legislation passed both the House and Senate with broad, bipartisan support,” Rathgeber said. “And we’re hopeful it represents a new beginning for the state, a long-awaited change of attitude.
“It is imperative that we restore confidence and attract new investment, strengthen our economic base, and make Connecticut a more competitive place to do business.
“Our economic future ultimately depends on the ability of our private sector to compete, to have the confidence to invest and grow here and we see this bill as a step in the right direction.”
Small business support
- Matching grants or loans to small businesses worth $10,000 to $250,000;
- New two-year assessment of the $250 business entity tax, instead of annually;
- Requirement that State Traffic Commission review applications within 60 days;
- Requirement that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection develop new permitting processes;
- $20 million in bonds to fund a training and employment program for small businesses and manufacturers;
- $20 million fund for mitigating and developing brownfield sites;
- Tax credits for training and hiring employees;
- Tax credits (up to $900 per month) to firms that hire veterans, people with disabilities and the chronically unemployed;
- Airport development zones near airports in Windsor Locks, Stratford, Oxford and other communities.
House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) told legislators that "job creation is a bipartisan issue and that's what is represented in this bill."
"I believe this bill represents another turn of the corner," he said. "We need to be open for business.
"We all heard this. We heard the need for making Connecticut a better place to do business, a friendlier place to do business, a place where people can find jobs, where we are coordinating our services, our educational resources to match what our companies in our state need."
One brief, shining moment?
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero (R-Norwalk) said passing the bill was one thing, but the key was "what happens next."
"Let's make sure that what we did today is not one brief, shining moment," he told House members. "We have a lot more to do."
Gov. Malloy said the bill sent a message that Connecticut can “act in concert, in a serious fashion, on a bipartisan basis, to address so many of the issues the business community has wanted state government to act on in the past."
“Let’s be clear about what this isn’t. It’s not a victory lap,” he said. “What this is however is a few steps in the right direction. I think we stopped the bleeding, we turned the ship around, but you don’t turn around 22 years of economic stagnation in a few days or weeks.”
Rathgeber noted that many of the initiatives included in the bill were echoed by CBIA’s pro-jobs agenda, which called for policymakers and the business community to work together to find and develop long-term economic solutions.
He applauded Governor Malloy for calling the special session and reaching out to lawmakers from both parties. He urged the administration and legislators to continue pursuing long-term fiscal and economic solutions.
A first step
“This first step is just that—a first step,” he said. “The renewed focus on jobs and economic growth must continue past the special session.
“We must commit to working together to create and retain jobs because Connecticut cannot continue down the path that led to the perception that the state is not business-friendly.
“Let’s build on our strengths and pursue policies that support businesses—the state’s job creators—and unlock Connecticut’s immense economic potential.”"