Connecticut has weathered the financial toll of the pandemic better than many of its peers, and the state's largest business lobby hopes this will help its plan to revive the economy.
The Connecticut Business & Industry Association has released an 11-point policy agenda called "Rebuilding Connecticut," which it has asked every legislative candidate and government official to sign.
More than 50 state legislatures, including many representatives of southeastern Connecticut in the General Assembly, have done so promised their support for the agenda, which spans five public policy areas: workforce development, urban renewal, investment in infrastructure, small business relief and return on investment for taxpayers.
"This is a real opportunity to put Connecticut in a better position to emerge from this pandemic than when we entered it," Eric Gjede, CBIA's vice president for government affairs, said Thursday during an interview with The Day editorial board.
The influx of people, many from New York, who moved to Connecticut last year helped grow the state's tax base, Gjede said, and he hopes this will persuade lawmakers to create a more business-friendly environment here, rather than introduce new taxes or mandates.
“We got out of this pandemic a little better than in many other states.… This is the real opportunity to continue to attract people here from cities who can see the benefits of moving to Connecticut instead of New York or Boston. That's where the emphasis should be, rather than trying to scare people away, & # 39; & # 39; said Gjede.
CBIA's agenda offers broad ideas to improve the state's business environment and help companies recover from the pandemic, but it does not go into details. The group hopes the series of proposals will guide lawmakers in preparing bills and their work in the General Assembly. CBIA also sees it as a way to hold the lawmakers who signed it accountable for pursuing its proposals.
While Connecticut sees a surge in tax revenues, the Lamont administration still expects deficits of between $ 1 billion and $ 2 billion in each of the next two fiscal years. And a recent report from a University of Connecticut think tank warned it could take the state until 2030 to recover from the pandemic.
Lamont has said he is against raising taxes this year, even for the state's wealthiest residents, who are progressive members of his party. propose. Instead, he wants to use the state's $ 3 billion rainy day fund to address the expected shortages.
CBIA is also against tax increases, and Gjede said the group was pleased that the governor and some lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, “came out very early to talk about the need to keep the line on any major tax hikes this year. "
“It resonates with them that this is an opportunity we need not to drive away the people who have come to Connecticut in recent months. We need to better serve the companies that are here, so I think it has put us in a much better position than we normally have, & # 39; & # 39; he said.
Much of CBIA's Rebuilding Connecticut agenda revolves around workforce development, including tailoring the state's public education system to meet the needs of the workforce, prioritizing & # 39; high-quality, much in demand & # 39; industries such as aerospace, software engineering, medical devices, biopharma and financial technology. These industries provide high-paying jobs that can encourage people to stay here, and provide economic opportunities for residents of Connecticut's cities, said Chris DiPentima, the president of CBIA.
"There were 13,000 job vacancies in the industry alone that went into the pandemic, and we couldn't fill them. Yet we have enough people in the cities who are able to take training programs and fill those jobs," said DiPentima, which is. a former executive director of the aviation industry.
Existing personnel development programs in the state need to be evaluated to ensure they are successful in this regard, DiPentima said.
The plan also aims to make the state apprenticeship tax credit program available to small manufacturers and to end the tax on employer training programs.
. (tagsToTranslate) Connecticut (t) New London County (t) Ned Lamont (t) Coronavirus (t) Business (general) (t) Economy (general) (t) Economic policy (t) Epidemic and plague (t) Epidemics and Pandemics (t) State budget and taxes (t) Businesses (t) Disease outbreaks (t) Economic policy (t) Economy (t) Epidemics (t) Public enterprises and finance (t) State budgets (t) State taxes (t) Connecticut (t) Ned Lamont (t) Connecticut State General Assembly (t) Connecticut state government (t) Connecticut state politics (t) Election 2018 – General Assembly