GOP budget supports employers, encourages job growth [Hartford Business Journal]

May 4, 2015

State Sen. Len Fasano

We are all tired of seeing families struggle as a result of Connecticut’s high unemployment rate.
We are tired of Connecticut being closed for business.

We are tired of watching the governor break promises, pick winners and losers, and create an environment in which businesses struggle to thrive.

That is why Republicans came together to create “Blueprint for Prosperity,” an alternative to the governor’s budget that not only outlines spending for the next two years, but that also makes long-term changes to how our state budgets to reduce taxes for working-class families, support the most vulnerable, and eliminate burdens on local employers.

The future of Connecticut is dependent on job growth, and people cannot grow jobs unless government gets out of the way and instead empowers individuals to grow, expand and find success.

This year, the governor proposed a budget that does not seek change or empowerment, but rather would hinder business and job growth by capping tax credits businesses rely on. Capping credits, paired with other increases, would burden employers by an additional $820 million in tax increases.

The Republican plan rejects these proposals and instead lays out a plan that restores the benefit of business tax credits. We also propose eliminating the corporate income tax surcharge and the business entity tax, all while preserving core social services and funding support for the most vulnerable.

Business tax credits in particular are huge incentives we need to protect. They encourage businesses to come to and expand in Connecticut.

Many businesses also make everyday decisions based on these credits. For example, a manufacturer may decide to purchase new equipment if they can count on a tax credit to help reduce their financial burdens. To take away the ability to use these tax credits, after they have already been secured and budgeted for by a business, is breaking a promise that will have serious repercussions.

Those who are completely out of touch with the way businesses operate have referred to these credits as “loopholes.” But these credits were created purposefully to encourage business investment in Connecticut.

In the governor’s own negotiation last year with United Technologies Corp. to solidify their business operations in Connecticut, tax credits were used as a powerful incentive to benefit the company. Clearly, businesses like NBC and ESPN make decisions on how to expand and invest based on programs or initiatives incentivized by the state.

By cutting back on promised tax credits, the governor’s budget jeopardizes the trust between the state and companies. This move also sends an extremely negative message to any business considering coming to Connecticut.

The Blueprint for Prosperity aims to send a different message — one of hope and prosperity for everyone.

We level the playing field by enabling all businesses to continue to count on the tax credits they were promised. We also reject the governor’s shortsighted thinking. Sure, capping tax credits today plugs up a budget hole. But in the long run, a cap on these credits is a disincentive for growth.

We hope to change the conversation with our proposal, and encourage bipartisan collaboration in the legislature.

Growth, opportunity and prosperity for all: These are three goals lawmakers on both sides of the aisle share. Together, we can achieve them, but only if we change our path and move in the direction of hope.