Now is our time………

March 18, 2011

We are about half way through the 2011 legislative session and while the state budget is certainly in the headlines, there are other proposals that can be as important or damaging to our business climate. As the country faces economic uncertainty, companies are looking to move to areas, either in the US or out of the US, which have favorable tax codes, regulations and laws that will allow their business to grow. Now is Connecticut’s opportunity to capitalize on their willingness to relocate or expand.

The only way Connecticut will recover from the fiscal quagmire we are in is to grow our way out of it. Business is the engine that will drive this state out of its recession. It is imperative that we are a welcoming and business friendly state so we can rapidly grow. Only then will our overall economy improve.

We are at a crucial point right now. Our neighboring states are raising taxes and making the business climate difficult. We have an opportunity to make Connecticut the beacon of light for business in New England. We can attract companies from other states who want to flee high taxes and an unfriendly business climate.

To do this we must keep our taxes low and reduce government regulatory burdens on business. When we do this our Connecticut companies will remain and it will entice others to join us. In the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee we are working on several proposals to improve the business climate. I will highlight two here.

First is SB 1135, An Act Concerning the Waiver of Fines and Penalties for Certain Business Regulation Violations. This bill will require DECD and the Department of Public Health to report and recommend statutory changes to allow those agencies to abate any fine or penalty assessed for a first-time violation of a noncriminal regulation by a business if they correct the violation within 30 days. As Ranking Member of the Commerce Committee I worked to write this important legislation. I have seen companies in my own district financially devastated over a simple error that is quickly corrected.

Second is SB 1019, An Act Expediting the State Permitting Process. This bill shortens the length of time DEP can review permits to 45 days. If the Department has not issued a decision on the permit the application shall be deemed approved. These measures are an example of simple ways the State of Connecticut can keep business moving.

The State budget and our tax code are obviously the best indicators of our business climate. However, the large number of onerous regulations and taxes further damages the business attractiveness of our state. By working to stop proposals such as mandatory paid sick leave or new regulations we move Connecticut towards becoming the economic lifeboat for businesses in New England.