Small Business to Legislators: Help Us Help You
Small business owners asked state legislators to address their greatest frustrations this week at the Connecticut Business Day small business breakout session.
One of those frustrations centers on how difficult it is to contact state government. Proposals in the legislature this year would make it easier for existing and prospective businesses to get the help they need.
Sen. Gary LeBeau, (D-East Hartford) said the Commerce Committee, which he chairs, is reviewing a number of these “concierge” proposals and that chances for success are “excellent” this session.
“It’s a matter of breaking down the silos … reorganizing to ensure that people are working together,” he said.
Panel moderator Rob Simmons, former Connecticut business advocate, said Connecticut needs to catch up quickly to other states that have “one-stop shopping, one phone number, [and] one place [for businesses] to go.”
Right now, said Sen. Rob Kane (R-Watertown), “We are not a pro-business or business-friendly state. That needs to change.”
Ted Marena of Marena Industries, Inc., in East Hartford, said his business can’t keep up with rising energy costs and as a result, he was forced to cut his staff. “As a businessman I find it very difficult to stay in business,” he said. “If I was a young man, I would be the first guy to move out of the state of Connecticut.”
Rep. Lonnie Reed (D-Branford), acknowledged that addressing the state’s high cost of energy is at the top of “the to-do list.”
“We realize that not only is it driving people out of Connecticut, it’s also keeping people from locating here,” she said.
Kim Kasparian of Success Genie, Inc. in Milford, urged the panel, which included, several small business owners, to explain what the employer community can do to help legislators make decisions that are good for Connecticut businesses, their employees and the economy.
Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield), joined her colleagues in urging business owners to communicate their concerns directly to their legislators, but to also make their voices heard in the State Capitol.
“You’re going to have to … come up here and do these things. But that’s what will impact this [process],” she said.
Other lawmakers participating in the breakout were Rep. Tim Ackert (R-Coventry), Rep. Fred Camillo (R-Old Greenwich), Rep. Chris Coutu (R-Taftville), Rep. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), and Rep. Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison).
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