Sen. Kane: Manufacturer eyes Oxford airport zone for tax breaks

April 22, 2014

The following article appeared in the April 22, 2014 edition of the Waterbury Republican-American

Manufacturer eyes Oxford airport zone for tax breaks
Company to add up to 20 full-time jobs at Oxford location

An electrical manufacturing company that operates in Oregon, Alaska and Nevada plans to expand into Connecticut and take advantage of tax breaks offered by a newly created economic development zone at the Waterbury-Oxford Airport. Autonomy Technology Inc., plans to create a fourth facility here where it will manufacture and distribute medium-voltage switchgear, generator connection systems and cable assemblies to customers up and down the Eastern Seaboard, according to a news release issued by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Monday.

The company plans to add 18-to-20 new, full-time jobs at its Oxford location, the release states.

“The purpose of creating the Waterbury-Oxford Airport Development Zone was to recognize the significant possibilities of utilizing this airport as an economic driver for the region, located in an area where businesses can thrive,” Malloy states in the release. The development zone, which went into effect in the fall, offers tax incentives to businesses that acquire or lease an idle facility or construct, substantially renovate or expand facilities within the zone.

The businesses must be involved in manufacturing, research and development related to manufacturing, servicing, overhauling, or rebuilding machinery and equipment for industrial uses or other services that are related to the airport. Businesses that meet certain criteria are eligible for a five-year, 80 percent local property tax abatement on real and personal property, and a 10-year corporation business tax credit, according to Malloy’s release. At one point in the recent past, it appeared that the tax incentive zone might not happen.

In 2011, state Sen. Rob Kane, R-Watertown, developed a tax-incentive bill similar to the one that is now on the books. It was approved overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate. Malloy, a Democrat then in his first term as governor, vetoed the bill. Malloy said at the time he supported the bill, but wanted first to establish the Connecticut Airport Authority to figure out ways to make all of the state’s airports attractive for businesses.

Republicans and local officials, including Kane and Oxford First Selectman George Temple, criticized Malloy, calling his veto a political move. They said jobs could have been created sooner and businesses could have expanded earlier had Malloy not vetoed the bill.

On Monday, Kane did not talk politics. “We knew that in the long run, the most important thing is that we start creating jobs in Oxford and throughout the region,” he said. “This announcement shows that our work is beginning to pay dividends in the form of good jobs.” State Rep. David K. Labriola, R-Oxford, said this is good news for the entire region because it brings quality jobs.

Mike Scala, president and chief operating officer at ATI, stated in a news release that he’s a lifelong resident of Connecticut and is glad to help restore manufacturing jobs to the state. “This positioning is perfect for ATI in our overall plan for expanding our business and bringing more jobs into the state,” he said.