Growth Must Be the Top Priority
Despite the state’s fiscal and other challenges, and difficulties at the federal level around trade disputes and the partial government shutdown, I believe Connecticut is poised for stronger economic growth.
Companies in key economic base industries like manufacturing, insurance, financial services, and healthcare are making a commitment to Connecticut, investing in technology, innovation, and workforce development.
And, although we continue to lag the region and the country, the state’s private sector job creation accelerated in the last 12 months, and the latest GDP numbers show consecutive quarters of expansion.
Whether these positive developments signal a sustainable trend depends, in large part, on whether our governor and lawmakers take steps to support a stronger Connecticut economy and avoid policy choices that put up barriers to economic progress.
Now that the 2019 General Assembly session is under way, CBIA in its advocacy role will maintain a singular focus on how policy proposals either enhance or impede growth and private sector employers’ ability to invest and create jobs in Connecticut.
A Different Approach?
From conversations I’ve had with CBIA members since the election, I’ve learned that many business leaders have an expectation that, given Gov. Ned Lamont’s background and the encouraging statements he’s made recently, we’ll see a different approach to addressing our fiscal problems and the way the state fosters economic development.
And the governor’s continuing commitment to growth as the key to Connecticut’s success is certainly cause for optimism.
“Year after year, too many legislators fail to make economic growth the state’s top policy priority.”
I’m less optimistic, however, about some lawmakers’ commitment to that concept.
Most people understand the argument about why growth is so vital to the fiscal and economic health of our state.
But the reality is that year after year, too many legislators fail to make economic growth the state’s top policy priority.
The time has come for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to embrace growth as the solution Connecticut needs most right now.
How can policymakers help make Connecticut a hospitable place for economic expansion?
Most importantly, we need all legislative committees and state agencies working in the same direction to foster growth.
I’m not talking about growth at the expense of worker safety, the environment, or any other critical factors, but we can no longer afford to get bogged down in additional employer mandates, regulations, and other side issues that make it so difficult for Connecticut’s job creators to compete globally and grow our economy.
About the author: Joe Brennan is CBIA’s president and CEO.
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