The Commerce Committee is proposing to expand on last fall’s landmark bipartisan jobs bill and increase the marketing of Connecticut through new legislation. However, businesses see one very troubling section in the committee’s proposal.

SB 1 expands the state’s Small Business Express Program which provides loans and matching grants with an easy application and fast turnaround to help small businesses create jobs and make other improvements.

The committee proposes to expand availability to the express program from employers of 50 or fewer individuals to those with up to 100.

In addition, SB 1 seeks to market the state more aggressively though the:

  • Creation of a “Made in Connecticut” and “CT-Made” label and brand to be promoted by the Department of Community and Economic Development, and
  • Designation of locations in the state with cultural, historical, or educational significance as “Connecticut Treasures” to be promoted by DECD and the Culture and Tourism Advisory Committee 

Also, as approximately 6,000 soldiers begin returning to Connecticut from the Middle East, tax credits passed last October that encourage the hiring of any military veteran would be augmented with additional grant money to help employers hire and train returning combat soldiers.  

Troubling provision

SB 1 also contains a provision that could open employers to additional liability in their hiring decisions by adding the unemployed to the list of protected classes. While it’s critically important to get people back to work, this measure essentially would allowan unemployed person who applies for a job, but does not win it, to sue the hiring company for discrimination.

Just that possibility would be a strong barrier to Connecticut employers even trying to fill open positions. Making job creation more burdensome and expensive ironically works against the aim of a jobs bill, or any bill. CBIA urges lawmakers to reject such an anti-jobs provision.