Businesses flocked to the Capitol, lawmakers listened to them, and momentum is building—with a long way to go—to improve Connecticut’s economy and prospects for job creation.

At Connecticut Business Day 2010, small business owners, manufacturers, health care agencies, multi-national corporations, chambers of commerce, mom-and-pop shops and just about every kind of business in Connecticut participated in a series of serious talks on the issues.

Four hundred business leaders sporting “Save Jobs” buttons participated in the event, hosted by CBIA and the Connecticut Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.    

They heard Gov. Rell deliver keynote remarks about the critical need to restore “fiscal sanity” to the state along with her proposals to accomplish just that, and reinvigorate economic growth in Connecticut.

Also speaking was state Comptroller Nancy Wyman, who provided a candid state budget update, and numerous state legislators participated in breakout discussions on key issues.

Need pro-jobs policies

Connecticut “has a crying need to create policies that will help us keep and grow jobs,” said Gov. Rell. The economy will eventually recover, she added, but what the legislature does this year will go a long way to determine how quickly we get back the jobs we’ve lost.  

She outlined several ways to get Connecticut’s economy growing again, starting with putting the state’s fiscal house back in order. With a $500 million deficit this year and billions more in debt, “We have a state government we can no longer afford and a legislature that cannot make the decisions that need to be made,” she said.  

Her proposed bi-partisan PERFORM commission will conduct a top-to-bottom review of state government and make specific recommendations on how to make it smaller and more effective.

Get involved

The battle for jobs and Connecticut’s economy is taking place at the Capitol and businesses are going to have to get involved, speaker after speaker told the day’s attendees.

Other interest groups promoting anti-business agendas are extremely active at the Capitol, as was seen by the press conference that day to promote mandatory paid sick leave.

Packed breakout sessions brought many lawmakers and business leaders face-to-face to talk about taxes, labor issues and the specific concerns of small businesses and manufacturers.

Businesses urged lawmakers to count the cost of legislative proposals—if passed, how would they affect jobs; and just by being introduced, what message will proposals send to employers struggling to survive?  

This year, everything the legislature proposes should be held up to the scrutiny of “will it help our economy and ability to create jobs, or will it hurt chances for critical business investment and a healthy business climate?” said John Rathgeber, CBIA President and CEO.   

The message to lawmakers last year, recalled Sean Moore, president, Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce, and Connecticut Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, was “to do no harm.” Now, he says, “That’s not enough any more: they need to consider businesses in every action they take.”  

Also at Business Day, attendees signed a “Saving Connecticut Jobs” open letter to the legislature asking lawmakers to: Make Connecticut’s economic climate more competitive.

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