The state's largest business organization said today revisions to the state budget will begin to put Connecticut on a better economic path if lawmakers continue focusing on economic competitiveness.
"The budget debate, particularly over the last month, served an important purpose," said Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. "It put a spotlight on Connecticut's economy and the ability of companies to compete in regional, national, and global markets.
"As originally adopted by the General Assembly, the budget hurt companies' ability to compete. By reopening the budget and making modifications to tax increases, lawmakers have begun undoing some of the damage."
Brennan said the special budget session marked an important shift in direction, adding that policymakers "can't stop now."
"We thank Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for responding to the concerns voiced by businesses and their work forces," he said.
"And Republican lawmakers and those Democrats who voted against the original budget also deserve credit because their concerns gave added weight to the call to find a better way.
"They sent a message that Connecticut's economic competitiveness is important and cannot be ignored."
Brennan noted that even in its revised state, the two-year budget still increased taxes by about $1.3 billion, including higher levies on employers, and reductions in the value of tax credits and operating loss provisions.
"Make no mistake about it, taken as a whole, this budget does not help Connecticut's overall competitiveness," he said.
"Policymakers now must aggressively follow up on the special session with structural reforms that more efficiently deliver services, reduce long-term costs, and stabilize our economy to benefit everyone who lives in Connecticut."
During the special budget session, lawmakers also approved a new economic competitiveness commission to help develop policies promoting economic growth.
"Although there is always a certain amount of skepticism when it comes to creating new legislative commissions," Brennan said, "We hope that having an additional voice speaking to the critical importance of keeping Connecticut competitive will drive better policy choices.
"We have said throughout this legislative session that the debate shouldn't be about business taxes versus human services, that we can be a society that takes care of its citizens but also nurtures a healthy, growing economy.
"Connecticut companies of all sizes and types-and the people and families who work for them-want our state to be a better place to live, work, learn, and raise a family."