CBIA released the following statement from president and CEO Joe Brennan following adjournment of the regular session of the 2019 General Assembly:
This legislative session was an extremely challenging one for businesses, especially small businesses, one the state cannot afford to repeat if we want a strong economy and robust job growth.
We expected a difficult session given that many progressive legislators ran on platforms that conflicted with a number of the business community's goals. Two measures hit the state’s smallest companies particularly hard.
The paid family and medical leave bill was crafted in a way that makes it the most expansive in the country. Among other things, it applies to businesses with as few as one employee, something no other state mandates.
Similarly, the minimum wage increases to $15 per hour over the next four years will also make it more difficult for small businesses, the engine of job growth in our state, to retain and grow jobs here.
The state budget, passed largely along party lines, with all Republicans plus five Democrats in the House and two in the Senate in opposition, relied largely on revenue increases to close projected deficits.
It also includes a reduction in a credit passed last year to help small businesses. Cutting that credit does nothing to improve trust in the legislature, particularly as the budget also extends the “temporary” 10% corporation tax surcharge.
In some respects, the two-year budget both gives and takes.
For instance, it eliminates the biennial $250 business entity tax—long regarded as a nuisance tax—while increasing annual business registration filing fees.
On the plus side, the budget avoids many of the tax initiatives pushed by legislative progressives, including higher personal income tax rates and a new tax on capital gains.
It also gradually phases out the capital base tax, which may benefit businesses with long product development cycles, and extends the angel investor tax credit program.
The budget features a number of workforce development measures, including the public-private Partnership for Connecticut and funding for the state’s workforce investment boards. It also includes economic development measures such as the Municipal Redevelopment Authority and a manufacturing champion within the Department of Economic and Community Development.
CBIA and its allies in the business community and in the legislature stopped many other measures that hurt economic competitiveness, including the captive audience, predictive scheduling, and public option bills, as well as numerous others.
As we look to a special session later this year and the 2020 regular session, we urge the legislature to take a bipartisan approach in addressing the issues challenging private sector investment and job growth—issues that prevent Connecticut from realizing its true economic potential.
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 Joe Budd (860.244.1900).