It’s Time Lawmakers Made Connecticut a Promise
By Joe Brennan
Although the news last month of GE’s headquarters relocation from Fairfield to Boston was a major blow to the state, we won’t know the full impact of that decision until we see how state policymakers respond.
If they treat the GE move as an anomaly, then we may see the same scenario play out again as Connecticut companies seek more favorable business conditions elsewhere.
Our elected officials must realize that small and large businesses are making investment decisions every day, and they pay close attention to what’s happening at the Capitol.
The conditions that led to GE’s move still exist for companies throughout the state.
In particular, Connecticut businesses remain uneasy about the state’s growing burden of costly workplace mandates and its short- and long-term fiscal problems, which create widespread uncertainty and a lack of predictability, especially when it comes to taxes.
Although last June’s tax increases on businesses—which some legislative leaders later acknowledged were a mistake—were the catalyst that led several companies to make public statements that they would take a hard look at their Connecticut operations, there are many factors that go into location decisions.
One factor is a state’s ability to support a high-tech, innovation economy, and Connecticut needs to continue enhancing its reputation as a good place for technology and innovation-based businesses to thrive and grow.
While it was significant that the General Assembly came back into special session twice to repair some of the damage caused by the state budget that was approved in June, in the case of GE—a great corporate citizen—it proved too little too late.
So what now?
And it’s time for lawmakers to make a Connecticut a promise.
First, they must acknowledge our challenges.
To be sure, we’ve made some recent economic progress, some promising first steps, but the time for small steps has passed.
What Connecticut needs is bold action, for Democrats and Republicans to roll up their sleeves and work together to find real, long-term solutions.
That means embracing structural reforms, reining in spending to levels that taxpayers can afford.
And it means maintaining an unwavering focus on keeping jobs and families here, on giving businesses, small and large, the confidence to invest and grow in Connecticut.
Let's get started.
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