Governor Malloy Calls for ‘Full-Scale Revival’
Governor Dannel Malloy this week called for a “full-scale economic revival” that remakes Connecticut into a national leader in job creation, education reform and fiscal discipline—goals shared by many in the business community.
In his State of the State address to the General Assembly this week, the governor said he is challenging legislators and business leaders across the state “to join him in achieving his vision for a dramatic turnaround.”
Connecticut, he said, must have “jobs that people will come [here] to find, instead of leaving Connecticut to look for.”
“Governor Malloy captured many of the key issues and concerns of the business community,” said John Rathgeber, CBIA’s president and CEO. “He emphasized how critically important private-sector investment is to creating jobs in Connecticut and in ensuring the state has a viable future.”
The governor stressed the need to exercise continued fiscal responsibility and how to make state government leaner, more effective and more efficient.
Business-as-usual can’t continue in our public education system either, he said. “We’ve been too timid when the situation calls for boldness.”
For greater fiscal discipline, the governor proposes “GAAP-compliant” budget revisions that include a modest increase in spending, no tax increases, and reforms in how the state meets its long-term obligations for public-sector retirees. His plan avoids borrowing to meet operating expenses.
Most of the governor’s proposed $329 million spending increase in fiscal year 2013 is for implementing his education reforms, funding state pensions, and maintaining critical human services.
Governor Malloy said the state has to face the fact that “many parts of our system of public education are broken.” Schools, he said, are failing in their basic missions to give young people a world-class education and make sure they have the skills and abilities to meet the needs of Connecticut’s employers.
“For too long,” said Rathgeber, “we have failed our young people in preparing them for productive lives in a global economy. As a result, we’ve also put Connecticut employers at risk for not having enough skilled workers to make their businesses competitive, and we’ve endangered our state’s economic viability.”
For weeks, the governor has been rolling out his proposals to reform public education by:
- “Ensuring that our schools are home to the very best teachers and principals”
- Increasing access to early childhood education
- Increasing the state’s Education Cost Sharing formula
- Turning around failing schools and school districts
- Promoting alternate schools such as charter and magnet schools
- Cutting red tape in schools’ bureaucracy
“I am determined to fix our public schools. I do not think it will be easy, nor do I think it will happen overnight. But it will happen. It must happen.”
Selling the jobs package
Reiterating that Connecticut is open for business, the governor said he intends to continue selling last fall’s jobs package “across the state, the nation and around the world.”
The package of loans, grants, incentives and other investments “contains something for just about every business in Connecticut … and for Connecticut workers … [and] is already paying off,” said the governor. “Jobs are being created as we speak.”
The governor called for a renewal of the bipartisan cooperation that made last fall’s jobs session successful. “Now it’s time to do it again,” he said.
From the perspective of the business community, the question is what happens next. It remains to be seen whether the legislature will have the political will, for example, to exercise fiscal responsibility, help create a better climate for business investment, and adopt meaningful reforms to Connecticut’s public education system.
The State of the State address was just the beginning of the 13-week session. Details about how to achieve these goals have to be sorted out through the legislature’s committee process, which also now begins.
It is likely that many of the governor’s proposals will win bipartisan support while others will be debated at length.
CBIA hopes that the proposals with the greatest impact on private-sector job creation will be addressed in a bipartisan manner, as was done in the successful jobs session last fall.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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