Gov. Malloy will present his first state budget proposal to the General Assembly on February 16 and it must address a budget deficit now pegged at nearly $3.7 billion.

But the Governor has help--he’s been given 1,800 pages of ideas on how to address and improve a dozen major areas of state government and boost the state’s economy.

The ideas come from his Transition Team Policy Committee and its advisory groups that met with the governor this week to hand over their reports that include recommendations  in major areas, from agriculture to transportation.

Among the top recommendations is one calling for the governor to partner with the state’s business community in a “new collaboration to create jobs” and establish the state “as a business-friendly location.” In fact, Gov. Malloy said at a recent CBIA/MetroHartford Alliance economic conference that he wants to do just that.

The governor said that he would move on some of the policy team’s recommendations and others could be part of his first budget address. He also said that some of the changes were more likely to take place over a longer period of time.

Here are some of the highlights from the reports:

Demanding higher performance: Connecticut needs a “high-performing government that is transparent, customer-centered, technologically adept and maximizes state resources ...”

State government today is top-loaded with too many managers per state employee—twice as many as in private-sector businesses, said the committee. The group advocated “flattening” the layers of government to improve effectiveness, and recommended consolidating the state’s numerous economic development efforts—33 state agencies, boards and commissions that administer more than $2 billion annually in various funding resources. These “need to be prioritized and focused on job creation,” the committee said.

Creating jobs: What will it take? The governor’s advisers say that his leadership will be critical to reigniting job creation and economic development.  They propose that he should actively recruit domestic and global jobs to Connecticut and meet with businesses already here to ask them, “What will it take for your company to grow jobs in Connecticut?”

The state also needs:

  • More investment in infrastructures that support economic growth
  • A comprehensive smart-growth strategy
  • Bigger supply of affordable housing

The technology working group also recommended creating tax-free zones in cities and surrounding regions where there are large concentrations of targeted industries.

Examples include the insurance and financial services in Hartford and Stamford, life science, healthcare and medical devices around New Haven and Hartford defense, homeland security and maritime industries around New London and Norwich and Precision-machining around Bridgeport, Waterbury, Meriden, New Britain and Torrington.

“Tax-free means no taxes whatsoever,” said the group, but “would only apply to incremental investments that would not diminish the existing tax base and which would result in new jobs.” The zones would sunset after five years.

Producing results in education: Closing the state’s educational achievement gap is the most urgent and daunting challenge impacting Connecticut’s ability to compete in the 21st century. But a “fragmented” government structure, is blocking the way, said the education working group.

The group called for administrative and financial resources better aligned to drive education reform that would include providing universal access to pre-K education and expanding instructional help for students in all grades.

Connecticut’s high-technology industries also need state government to show “a much more serious, consistent level of support” for the higher education system, in order to produce a workforce ready for high-tech jobs, said the jobs and economic development team.

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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