Encouraging Job Growth With Business Friendly Legislation

March 4, 2010

Pratt & Whitney’s recent announcement that they will layoff over one-hundred-and-fifty Connecticut workers dramatically highlights the need for pro-business legislation. Here in North-central Connecticut, we’ve had job losses at Hamilton Sundstrand, Bernie’s, and MeadWestvaco to name a few. Our state’s unemployment numbers jumped from 4.6% in 2007 to 8% in 2009 and too many people are struggling to find meaningful work.

Even though experts have said our economy is beginning to recover, they have also cautioned that it will take up to ten years just to regain our lost jobs. The legislature can no longer sit back and watch businesses continue to shrink, close, or leave the state entirely. I supported legislation for the past two years that seeks to eliminate the business entity tax, lower the corporate surcharge, and create tax incentives to stimulate economic development. In fact, I brought these proposals to an Enfield business forum last year and received overwhelming supported. Unfortunately, the proposals were not supported by the Democrat majority and failed to become law at a time when our businesses desperately needed help.

This year, the Senate Republican Caucus has proposed The Connecticut Business and Workforce Revitalization Act, a plan that will expand the job creation tax credit, repeal both the 10% corporate surcharge and the business entity tax, eliminate burdensome and unnecessary business regulations, and provide tax incentives for green technology business initiatives. Our goal in proposing these measures is to create low cost incentives for business creation and expansion.

Despite rejecting our initiatives in previous years, the Democrat majority has now included several of them in their Job Growth Roundtable Proposal. Unfortunately, not only is their support untimely, they have also proposed a number of measures that target only specific industries and cost millions.

The majority has also proposed creating jobs through improvements to our state infrastructure, but many of these ideas already exist or cost money we don’t have. Further, jobs created by infrastructure improvements are only temporary and not sustainable long-term.

Even more concerning is that House Majority Leader Denise Merrill has publicly endorsed a “new era of federalism,” showing the majority’s belief that bigger government is the answer to our financial problems. Not only will bigger government lead to greater intrusion in our lives, it comes at a huge cost. Every cent we borrow, either as a state or nation, will need to be paid back. With our national debt now over $12 trillion, we cannot continue to invest precious tax dollars in temporary public sector jobs. I have two young sons who will be part of the future generation responsible for this overwhelming figure, and everything we do must be done with an eye toward our children’s future.

Our proposal, The Connecticut Business and Workforce Revitalization Act, is the right thing for the future of Connecticut. Proposals that sound good but are unaffordable, risky, and unsustainable for the long-term are misleading at best. While government can create public sector jobs, it is the private sector that pays the bill. We must rely on the fortitude and innovative spirit of private entrepreneurs to lead us to a brighter future by creating a business-friendly environment.