Making Connecticut an easier place to do business could start with a better “front desk” to help companies find their way through state government. This week, CBIA testified before the Commerce Committee in favor of several proposals that would create ways to help both existing and prospective businesses more easily get the help they need.
SB- 901, SB-902, HB-6288 and HB-6316 all aim to improve the interaction between state government and businesses. And that’s a good idea, because with the great need to grow jobs in Connecticut, breaking down anything that could get in the way of that goal is critically important.
Businesses today have difficult time navigating their way through permit and license requirements, registration requirements, mandatory information disclosures and tax liabilities—as well as incentive programs that could help them grow. They need a more efficient and user friendly way of interacting with the state in order to grow or locate here.
Ideas in the proposals include creating a municipal ombudsman within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), “streamlining and creating a more efficient and business-friendly registration process,” and creating a single point of entry for businesses within the Secretary of the State’s office.
While these are all good ideas, it will be much more effective and powerful to combine them into a single proposal.
Several states already have adopted the business-friendly, front-desk “concierge” model. The Oregon Business Development Department dramatically streamlined its business services to create a one-stop shop for startups and, importantly, existing firms looking to retain jobs or grow their operations. Roughly 90% of services are provided to existing businesses.
“Business Oregon” is in its second full year of shepherding private employers through a “wide range of competitive issues, including accessing capital, locating industrial property, developing an export strategy, identifying business incentives, connecting with R&D resources, and more” in order to “to create, retain, expand and attract businesses that provide sustainable, living-wage jobs for Oregonians.”
Right now, Connecticut state government is often a confusing maze to employers looking for help. Lawmakers should support efforts to make it easier to do business in Connecticut—so employers can spend more time doing what they do best: creating new value and jobs.