Governor Malloy opened the 2013 General Assembly session this week by calling for job creation to be this year’s “core guiding principle.”

“Until every person in our state who wants a job can find one,” said the governor in his State of the State Address, “we have more work to do.”

The session began on a somber note in the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown.  Governor Malloy and legislative Republican leaders all expressed confidence that they could find common ground to ensure school safety and address mental health issues.

Economic focus

The governor also spoke about the critical need to improve Connecticut’s economy. He said programs such as the First Five, Small Business Express, and the Innovation Ecosystem are part of a “holistic” approach by his administration to increase jobs and economic development. 

"We can’t stick our heads in the sand or simply hope for the best,” he said. “Not when other states are actively recruiting jobs from every corner of the globe – jobs that can and should come to Connecticut."

CBIA President and CEO John Rathgeber said, “We support the governor’s statement that this legislative session must be guided by the core principle of getting people back to work.”

Fiscal problems resurface

The state is facing $2 billion in projected budget deficits for the next two fiscal years, while unemployment in the state continues to hover just under 9%. Over the last 20 years, state spending has surged 153%, far outpacing growth in inflation, population, and median household income. And the current biennial budget included more than $1.5 billion in tax increases.

Republican legislative leaders questioned the governor’s assertion that his administration has effectively addressed Connecticut’s fiscal challenges.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) noted that the condition of the state budget has a direct impact on businesses’ ability to create jobs. “We need to focus on making sure that businesses in Connecticut want to grow and expand here.”

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) said he hopes that, unlike two years ago, there will be a bipartisan effort on the budget. “Every success that the governor referenced today was [from] those times when there was a bipartisan effort—education reform, the jobs plan, the energy bill and the deficit mitigation [of December 2012].”         

Thebusiness community is urging the General Assembly to advance policies that will make state government more effective and more affordable--which in turn will help Connecticut’s economy recover more quickly from the recession. 

Changes

The five-month legislative session will continue through Wednesday, June 5. The General Assembly is made up of 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans in the Senate; and 99 Democrats and 52 Republicans in the House. These include 30 new state legislators; and many of the committee leaders have changed since last session.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.

Filed Under: Connecticut Economy

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