Witkos: Malloy To Attend Paris Air Show is “Distasteful and Dismissive” [Courant]

June 11, 2015

Hartford Courant

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is traveling to France next week to highlight Connecticut companies and recruit new business to the state.

The Democratic governor will attend the International Paris Air Show, the world’s largest and longest-running aerospace trade show. The event is expected to draw more than 2,200 exhibitors, including more than a dozen from the state, according to the Connecticut Technology Council.

Malloy spokesman Mark Bergman told the Associated Press that Connecticut “remains one of our nation’s aerospace leaders” and that Malloy is “proud to support those companies and promote Connecticut.” Large Connecticut companies such as United Technologies Corp. will exhibit, as well as smaller firms such as ACMT AdChem in Manchester, ACT Robots in Bristol and EDAC Technologies in Cheshire, according to the council.

Malloy is scheduled to attend the air show Sunday and Monday. The Department of Economic and Community Development is paying for the trip; the cost was not disclosed

The governor’s trip has drawn political fire. With several prominent business leaders voicing dismay over the recently approved state budget that includes a business tax increase, Malloy’s Republican critics questioned the timing of the trip.

“It’s completely legitimate for the governor to get involved in” promoting state business overseas, said House Republican leader Themis Klarides. “Unfortunately, another part of the governor’s job is to prioritize. And when he’s going over there, he’s not in Connecticut dealing with a budget that is hurting business people and driving people out of state.”

Senate Minority Leader Kevin Witkos said: “To claim this trip is for ‘recruiting’ other businesses to Connecticut is distasteful and dismissive of GE, Aetna, Travelers and all the companies here at home that are contemplating moving out of state thanks to the new budget.
“The governor did wrong by Connecticut businesses and all the families they employ with his tax hikes. Instead of fixing the mess he created here, he is searching for new companies overseas? On a trip paid for by state taxpayers? … The governor’s past overseas trips resulted in zero businesses coming to Connecticut.”

Jerry Labriola Jr., chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, also ripped Malloy’s decision.

“Dan Malloy is the most business-unfriendly governor in the nation,” Labriola said. “And now, with many of the top companies in Connecticut threatening to leave our state, it is troubling that the governor is traveling to Paris to enjoy a two-day air festival instead of working to rebuild Connecticut’s economy.”

But Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia said that is precisely the governor’s mission.

“Most would agree that the governor should be out attracting new aerospace companies to the state,” he said. “Connecticut remains one of our nation’s aerospace leaders and the governor is proud to support in-state companies, work to attract new ones and promote Connecticut as a leader in that industry.”