The Commerce Committee finished its regular work this week by approving several positive measures. Some are starting points for future improvement, one still doesn’t address a core problem, and many evidence the committee’s commitment to growing Connecticut’s economy.

HB 6316, proposed by the Secretary of the State, will streamline interactions between businesses and the state. It creates an electronic registration number for businesses registering with the Secretary’s office to be used as a common identifier during all interactions with state offices.

CBIA recommended merging this proposal with others to create a comprehensive state “business concierge” service. Alone, this bill is a good start, but more can be done.

SB 842, the Job Impact Statements bill, mandates that legislative proposals that could affect jobs in the state must include a report analyzing that impact, good or bad. CBIA has concerns that the bill’s proposed budget for additional staff within the Office of Fiscal Analysis won’t be enough to hire a seasoned business economist with the requisite skills in economic modeling.

Without the right staff, the measure won’t address the issue of the quality of the job-impact study. The more we learn about this issue the more convinced we become that the capabilities of the proposed analyst will make or break this concept. If an impact statement is arrived at inaccurately, it is a waste of resources.

Other measures approved will help promote brownfields redevelopment (HB 6526) and create a Manufacturers’ Reinvestment Fund (HB 6584).

HB 6584 allows manufacturers to invest in a tax-free account to be used for the purchase of equipment, facilities, or investments in workforce. Committee chairs improved language in the bill to address concerns from CBIA members.

Among other things, HB 6526 would provide incentives for private-sector investment in brownfield remediation, including limiting liability for developers who take ownership of the property that have no connection to the entity responsible for the contamination.

For more information about the brownfields proposal, contact CBIA's Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.