Business Ranking Highlights State’s Challenges, Echoes Voters’ Concerns
A new national business climate report shows the urgent need for more aggressive policy changes in Connecticut, the state’s largest business association said today.
CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business study ranked Connecticut 43rd, a 10-spot slide from last year.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising to see Connecticut had a significant drop in its business climate ranking from last year,” said CBIA president Joe Brennan.
“This ranking not only reflects the major tax hikes we saw last year, but also the fact that we are continuing to experience fiscal uncertainty.”
Brennan added that while the study noted the challenges facing the state, there are many positive stories coming out of the Connecticut economy, particularly in industries such as manufacturing, bioscience, and green technology.
“We have tremendous assets in Connecticut but bad policy choices over the years limited those strengths,” he said.
“We can and must do a better job in order to see increased economic and job growth.
“We know we have long-term challenges in areas like the cost of doing business in Connecticut, but we also saw dramatic drops in our traditional strengths.”
The category drops included education (from 11th in 2015 to 18th this year), workforce (from 4th to 18th), and quality of life (from 11th to 25th).
“A recent McKinsey study highlights the fact that we are losing ground in many areas that have been strong points,” he said.
“If we want our economy to grow, we have to make different choices.
“This ranking, and others like it, reflect what voters are saying in the most recent polls – that the economy and jobs should be the top priority of state lawmakers, and that Connecticut is going in the wrong direction.”
Two years ago, CBIA and other business associations and organizations joined together on the CT20x17 campaign with the goal of making Connecticut a top state for business by 2017.
While progress has been made, this year’s slide in the rankings reinforces the urgent need for change.
While the CNBC ranking noted that “high costs and poor infrastructure hinder the Nutmeg State,” Connecticut scored high for both innovation and quality of life.
“Connecticut workers are still among the nation’s most productive based on economic output per job,” said the report.
But CNBC noted that the state’s shrinking population, particularly skilled workers, was a main reason for the lower score.
“The good news is that there’s recognition by virtually everyone in Connecticut that we need greater economic growth,” Brennan said.
“We are working with many individuals and groups to make sure everyone in state government shares that goal.
“We have a critical election this November.
“Voters can’t just focus on the presidential race because races for the Connecticut legislature will have a major impact on the direction of Connecticut over the next two years.
“We must elect candidates who will be serious about getting the state’s fiscal house in order and making Connecticut a top state for economic growth and job creation.”
CBIA is Connecticut’s largest business organization, with thousands of member companies, small and large, representing a diverse range of industries from every part of the state. For more information, please email or call Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).
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