Panel: State Must Keep Making Progress

03.01.2012
Small Business

CBIA Board Member David Lewis, president & CEO of Stamford-based HR consulting firm OperationsInc, at the Business & Politics Forum in Norwalk. The event was sponsored by CBIA and the CEO Roundtable.

On Jan. 31, a panel of government and business leaders told 70 businesspeople at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center that the state needs to go beyond the jobs bill passed in October and continue improving Connecticut’s prospects for economic growth and job creation.

Sponsored by CBIA and the CEO Roundtable, the Business & Politics Forum featured five panelists: U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT 4), House Republican Leader Lawrence Cafero, Jr. (R-Norwalk), State Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich), CBIA Senior Vice President of Public Policy Joe Brennan, and David Lewis, CEO of Stamford-based HR consulting firm OperationsInc.

Although the jobs bill has begun to pay dividends, many of the panelists and audience members felt that the state must do more to move the economy forward, in particular by resolving its fiscal issues, reducing business costs, and improving the tax and regulatory environment.

“You have to ease up on the regulations,” Lewis told CBIA News. “You have to say ‘yes’ more than ‘no,’ and you have to not put people through the wringer when it comes to filling out paperwork.”

Lewis says that those factors have contributed to Connecticut’s poor showing in rankings of states’ business-friendliness. But he believes that putting the onus solely on the state for turning things around is not fair, especially in the current economic climate.

“If the federal government is really serious about getting the unemployed in this country back to work, they need to do something really radical.”

What would that be? Lewis suggests that the feds forgive the payroll taxes for a new hire for two years if a company hires someone who is unemployed and keeps that person engaged for two years.

“Small businesses would take that seriously,” he says.

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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.