Trickle Down Effect of Big Businesses Leaving State Would be Devastating

June 5, 2015

Sen. Fasano, Sen. Boucher, Sen. Hwang Comment on General Electric Exploring Option to Move Out of State

HartfordSenate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven), Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), and Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) expressed serious concern for the future of our state in light of Connecticut companies’ frustration regarding the state budget negotiated by Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats and especially General Electric’s announcement Thursday that it is exploring its options to move out of state.

“If GE were to leave our state it would truly be a disaster of epic proportions,” said Sen. Hwang, who represents and lives in the town where the company maintains its global headquarters. “I’m afraid to say that it would trigger a massive economic earthquake with Fairfield at the epicenter and aftershocks reverberating throughout the entire state.”

“We’re talking about a company which Fortune ranked as the 9th most admired company in the world in 2015, and that employs about 6,000 people in this state,” Sen. Hwang said. “If GE leaves, they take with them their employees and impact the approximately 65,000 supplier jobs they spend $14 billion with, including one local business owner who told me he’d likely lose a $2 million contract with the company and be forced to lay off about half of his workforce.”

“Jobs affect every single family in our state from all walks of life. Connecticut’s largest employers are frustrated about Gov. Malloy and Connecticut Democrats’ plan to raise our taxes yet again,” said Sen. Boucher, ranking member of the Transportation and Education Committees and a member of the Finance and Judiciary Committees.

“The trickledown effect of a large company leaving would be devastating across the board,” said Sen. Fasano.

GE, which employs 6,300 in the state, said yesterday in an email to Connecticut employees that they will charge a company task force with seeking out a new state to call home. They will be looking to invest their Capitol and workforce into a state with business friendly policies where they can grow and have market stability.

Earlier this week company officials said, “Reports that Connecticut officials intend to raise taxes by another $750 million are truly discouraging. Retroactively raising taxes again on Connecticut’s residents, businesses and services make businesses, including its own, and citizens seriously consider whether it makes any sense to continue to be located in this state.”

The company noted that the Connecticut economy “continues to struggle as other states offer more opportunities and a better environment for business growth.”

“If General Electric starts moving out, the ripple effect will be palpable. Once a company leaves, so do jobs, and so do people. Will the local housing market plummet as a result? Will local businesses that rely on GE’s business go under? I suspect the impact would be enormous – and people are terrified. This is a good company that supports thousands and keeps our economy moving. We do not want them to leave.” said Sen. Boucher.

“In addition,” Sen. Hwang said, “we’re talking about a company that enriches and supports our communities through its expertise, leadership and incredibly generous employee giving and philanthropy efforts, which have contributed 4,500 volunteers who have logged nearly 50,000 volunteer hours through about 150 projects and donated millions of dollars to local nonprofits, charities and schools.”

“When you take this in context with the rest of the $2 billion in new taxes that target some of our wealthiest residents, you are going to kill the golden goose – the largest tax generators of this state. You are going to effectively kill it and our state,” Sen. Hwang said.

Sen. Boucher further explained her concerns:

“The ripple effect of the businesses community contributions can be profound. Our large corporate donors give millions to Americares, Girls and Boys Club, YMCA’s, UCONN, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and community college foundations.

“This budget with further erode the ability of these philanthropists to give to our states nonprofits and the needy people who are the beneficiaries of their generosity,” said Boucher.

“It’s absolutely irresponsible to ignore GE and the other corporations that have chosen Connecticut as their home base for their operations. I stand with GE and am committed to doing everything in my power to ensure they continue to be a valued and respected partner and neighbor in our town and state,” Sen. Hwang said.

“Unfortunately,” the three Senators said, “the damage has already been done. But Gov. Malloy has the power to send these businesses and all residents a positive sign by vetoing this nightmare of a budget.”

Memo sent by General Electric to Connecticut employees:

Connecticut Fact Sheet attached to GE Memo: