This Is a Pro-Jobs Agenda?

04.08.2010
Issues & Policies

All the talk at the State Capitol is about saving jobs, but as Connecticut continues to lose them, lawmakers are doing very little to help.
In fact, the Finance Committee this week approved several proposals, largely along party-line votes, that will actually make it harder for businesses to operate here. For example:

  • Administrative burdens: As businesses struggle with the cost and complexities of complying with state laws and regulations, the Finance Committee approved a whole new corporate tax system that will further increase costs, create more confusion and weaken Connecticut’s tax climate. (SB-485/ Vote tally)
  • Healthcare costs: High healthcare costs are already a big barrier to job growth. The Finance Committee’s new 5.5% tax on hospitals will only make matters worse–the tax will make its way back to health care consumers, especially businesses who subsidize health care for most people in the state. (SB-478/ Vote tally)
  • Energy costs: A charge that electric consumers have been paying for a decade was set to expire over the next two years. But the Finance Committee decided to block the much-needed cost reduction that would have brought some relief to Connecticut’s energy costs that are among the highest in the U.S. (SB-484/ Vote tally)

What’s more, the committee hiked the state’s estate tax (“death tax”) for the next two years to the highest in the U.S.–essentially creating a “death lottery” for those years, and hurting small, family owned businesses. (Within the two years, estates will be taxed at the hiked rates.)
And the Appropriations Committee a couple of weeks ago actually voted to increase the state deficit next year, potentially pushing it to $1 billion. A new deficit mitigation plan is being discussed, but it appears to consist of primarily of spending delays and one-year modifications, not long-term solutions.
Instead of helping jobs, lawmakers are turning back to the failed strategies of the past—avoiding state spending cuts and desperately looking for ways to strip-mine Connecticut for more tax revenues. That kind of wrong thinking in Connecticut failed in recession of the early 1990s, and it will fail again.
Tax-review commission
In addition to the revenue-generating measures, the Finance Committee approved a proposal that is alarming to taxpayers of all kinds in Connecticut. HB-5534 creates a 17-member “Revenue Accountability Commission” with the authority to access and review confidential tax returns.
Furthermore,  the commission will be composed of “persons with a wide variety of backgrounds”—not specifically tax experts, but political appointees. These people, from businesses, nonprofits and organized labor, will be able to “Gather all state and local revenue data and analyze and evaluate such data …”
For Connecticut businesses, this commission could include competitors and others who have conflicting business interests along with questionable tax expertise.
Time running out With measures such as these, and with one month to go in the 2010 session, it’s uncertain if the legislature will do much this year to help save and create jobs.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.

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CBIA IS FIGHTING TO MAKE CONNECTICUT A TOP STATE FOR BUSINESS, JOBS, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. A BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE MEANS A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.