Senate Republicans Present Plan for Progress and Opportunity in Connecticut CitiesMarch 12, 2015
Hartford – Today the Connecticut Senate Republican Caucus presented a plan to foster economic growth and community development in Connecticut’s urban areas.
The “Plan for Progress and Opportunity in Connecticut Cities,” a package of policy ideas, aims to support the unique needs of small businesses and start-ups, create an environment that fosters growth, ensure that people stay informed of the opportunities that do exist, and reform Connecticut’s justice system. Together, these proposals aim to give all people in Connecticut’s vulnerable urban communities the tools they need to be successful.
“The strength of our state depends on the strength of our cities,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “This proposal, put forth by the Senate Republican Caucus, aims to help create an environment that enables people and jobs to flourish in our cities. It is a first step. It is the start of a conversation. Our goal is to explore new ways to support and strengthen urban communities.”
“This plan promotes sustainable job growth, small business development, and leverages public-private partnerships and collaborations,” said Senator Witkos (R-Canton), Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore. “In addition, it confronts serious problems with Connecticut’s justice system and proposes new ways to tackle unfavorable conditions that contribute to long-term unemployment facing former ex-offenders reentering society.”
The plan aims to strengthen and support cities by targeting the following areas:
1.Small Businesses, by establishing CT Fast Funds, a loan program for “mom and pop” shops (micro-businesses). Unlike other state loan programs, community banks would decide who receives loans and the community banks would manage all funding. The state would incentivize local investment with loan guarantees up to 70%.
2. Economic Development, by creating CT EDGE, a multi-faceted economic development tax credit program. This proposal recommends a two to three year pilot program to provide investors and developers a tax credit for developing or converting existing vacant buildings in urban centers to affordable, mix use development or viable commercial space.
3. Accessibility, by advocating to streamline Connecticut’s various economic development websites and virtual entry points to be more user friendly, practical and feature rich to ensure all learning resources are accessible to the public.
4.Juvenile Justice, by aligning sentencing guidelines with the 2012 Miller v. Alabama U.S. Supreme Court decision. This plan includes Senate Republican proposals to reform juvenile sentencing guidelines and reassess lengthy prison sentences for juvenile offenders.
5. Second Chances, by applying the Governor’s Second Chance proposals with some modifications and additional Senate Republican proposals. Notably, this plan recommends adopting New York’s Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) program in the place of Connecticut’s I-BEST program to help ex-offenders get back to work and lead productive, fulfilling lives.
“Horace Bushnell once said, ‘Power moves in the direction of hope,’” said Fasano. “If we don’t have hope for progress and change we will be powerless to future challenges. That’s why this plan focuses on hope: hope for economic development, hope for job growth and hope for opportunities and second chances. By combining action with hope, we are ready for change. We are ready to move new policy ideas forward, so that all our futures will be brighter.”