Sen. Martin: “To strengthen Bristol and New Britain, we have a plan that focuses on jobs.” (Bristol Press)

March 26, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Bristol Press

HARTFORD — Senate Republicans believe Bristol and New Britain will benefit from an economic development program they have proposed.

The program, CT EDGE (Economic Development for a Growing Economy), would provide investors and developers with a tax credit for developing or converting vacant buildings in urban centers to affordable, mixed-use development or viable commercial space.

“To strengthen cities like Bristol and New Britain, we have a plan that focuses on what Connecticut’s urban areas desperately need: jobs,” said state Sen. Henri Martin, R-Bristol. “CT EDGE would give investors and developers the incentive to pursue projects that currently may be viewed as too costly. We believe this robust tax credit program can help transform once-vacant buildings into viable space suitable for affordable housing, mixed-use development and commercial space.”

“The strength of our state depends on the strength of our cities,” added Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. “This proposal by the Senate Republican Caucus aims to help create an environment that enables people and jobs to flourish in our cities. Our goal is to explore new ways to support and strengthen urban communities.”

Martin said developing downtown neighborhoods will result in jobs for communities such as Bristol and New Britain that have higher unemployment rates. He added that the tax credit application and approval process would be structured for quick turnaround.

The state’s Department of Economic and Community Development would administer CT EDGE as a pilot program.

Senate Democrats were less enthusiastic about the proposal.

New Britain Sen. Terry Gerratana told The Herald the proposal “is really nothing new. Over the last few years, we have been focusing on individuals — increasing the minimum wage, supporting the earned income tax credit that means so much to working families and we’ve invested in the Small Business Express and Step-Up programs.”

Proposed legislation to implement CT EDGE is making its way through the legislature. The legislative session ends in June.

Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 801-5205 or [email protected]