Some Gains for Business in 2017 Session, But Budget Battle Looms
This year’s legislative session brought a few positive changes for Connecticut’s business community, despite lawmakers failing to adopt a state budget, CBIA said today.
“We started this year with Governor Malloy calling on legislators to provide Connecticut citizens and businesses with the stability and certainty they need to invest here,” said CBIA President & CEO Joe Brennan.
“However, failure to adopt a new two-year state budget delays our ability to make the structural changes necessary to get Connecticut back on track and gain that stability and certainty.
“Employers are looking for a sense of urgency among policymakers to aggressively attack our short-term deficits and long-term unfunded liabilities by bringing state employee benefit packages in line with what most Connecticut taxpayers receive; streamlining state government; and limiting spending to the core priorities.
“Despite not having a state budget in place, the business community should consider this year, at least in part, a success, because there were no anti-jobs bill adopted and some positive measures went forward.
“While greater balance in the legislature made it difficult to reach consensus on many instances, the new dynamic helped stop the job-killing bills that either passed or got serious consideration in past sessions.
“It also encouraged lawmakers, in certain circumstances, to work together to pass bills that will grow the economy.”
This year, lawmakers passed some measures that will help employers including:
- An angel investor bill that gives more small businesses access to critical capital
- A worker’s compensation bill that streamlines the claims process
- A bill that requires lawmakers to create a ratepayer impact statement for any bill that, if passed, has a financial impact on electric ratepayers
- A bill creating a small business hotline
- A bill establishing a Brownfield Land Bank to facilitate the development of environmentally impaired properties; and
- A bill creating transportation lockbox, if approved by voters in November 2018
Legislators also moved forward on some workforce development issues including a bill that gives the Connecticut Technical High School System independence from the state education system in order to focus more on career-building potential.
Also, a variety of studies and task forces designed to review economic growth issues passed through both chambers.
“In addition to passing positive bills, legislators also stopped many bills that would have made the state less competitive at a time when we can ill afford any negative economic news,” said Brennan.
Those bills include a paid family leave mandate, minimum work week, minimum wage increases, and a workers compensation bill that would have allowed a claimant to sue in civil court before administrative remedies are exhausted.
“As we look towards the special session, it’s now critical that lawmakers work in a bipartisan fashion,” said Brennan.
“We need to adopt a state budget that encourages investment, creates jobs, and generates economic growth as well as provides business owners with confidence in the state’s future.”
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, contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957).
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