Greater Bristol Legislators to Fight Measure Which Negatively Impacts ESPN

March 4, 2015

Greater Bristol legislators are expressing concerns over a proposal in the governor’s budget which will have a negative impact on Bristol-based ESPN.

Under the governor’s plan, the percentage of corporate tax relief would be cut in half, to 35 percent. As a result, ESPN, as well as digital media, animation and television-production companies from across Connecticut could see their corporate tax liability as much as double.

“ESPN is Bristol’s largest employer,” Sen. Henri Martin (R- Bristol) said. “I will work with Democrats and Republicans to defeat this policy proposal. Our goal should be to foster a high degree of certainty in Connecticut’s business climate. Businesses – small, medium and large businesses – make long-term investments and hiring decisions based on the policies we create here at the State Capitol. Pulling the rug out from underneath them by changing those policies does not send the right message to the businesses that are here and those which are considering coming here. It’s kind of like the Connecticut state government is Lucy, and our job creators , like ESPN and others, are Charlie Brown. We are pulling the football away from Charlie Brown just as he is about to kick it.”

“I am shocked at the Governor’s proposal to change the financial incentives negotiated between the administration and companies like ESPN, NBC, and many other businesses that operate in Connecticut ,” said Rep. Whit Betts (R-Bristol). “ESPN relied on incentives offered by the state in making their decision to invest money in the expansion of operations in Bristol. Going back on the terms of an agreement sets a very bad precedent that would have any company guessing if other current or future agreements made with the state will be honored. State government changing tax policies retroactively reinforces Connecticut’s reputation as being one of the most anti-business states in the country.”

“I am deeply disappointed in the proposal outlined in the Governor’s budget to change the terms of an agreement the administration made with ESPN,” said Rep. Cara Pavalock (R-Bristol). “With actions like this, we continue to demonstrate that Connecticut is closed for business. This is the wrong message to send to businesses across the state. It will certainly cause those looking to open a new business or relocate to Connecticut to reconsider.”

“I believe businesses in this state are going to suffer under this proposed budget with the new tax policies proposed,” said Rep. John Piscopo (R-Thomaston). “I will oppose this in committee and on the House Floor. For companies such as ESPN, it impacts their ability to plan and manage their business, which can influence their thinking on where to make future investments.”

The 2015 legislative session ends in June.