A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, business leaders, union representatives and others said a proposal, contained in SB 1176, to impose a $342 million tax on certain electricity generators will negatively impact Connecticut’s economic opportunities.

The tax makes no sense, said state lawmakers. “Senate Bill 1176 would send our entire state in absolutely the wrong direction in regards to economic development,” said State Sen. Andrea Stillman (D-Waterford).

"Closed for business"

“Stifling generation will dissuade generators from investing in Connecticut and inevitably lead to higher rates,” said Rep. Laura Hoydick (R-Stratford)

“Not only will we be the only state with an electricity generator tax but we will be sending the loud and clear message that Connecticut is closed for business."

Businesses that rely on affordable, reliable energy see the targeted tax as threatening their viability in Connecticut. Bruce Dworak, owner of Hobson & Motzer, a 200-employee tool and die metal stamping operation in Durham, says that manufacturers in the state use a lot of electricity.

“Connecticut has some of the highest energy costs in the country already,” says Dworak, “and adding more taxes on companies that supply us will only increase our costs and hurt reliability in the long term.”

Ominous message

Just the fact that lawmakers are considering SB 1176, says Dworak, “will curb any investment from energy companies that might consider generating here, and sends an ominous message to other Connecticut businesses: “They, too, might be subject to a production tax.”

"I'm not a big business guy -- I'm a pretty big labor guy -- but [the tax] just makes no sense at all," said state Rep. Ernest Hewett (D-New London), who represented low- and fixed-income ratepayers at the press conference.

SB 1176 is awaiting action by the Senate.