Alarm Bells Are Ringing in My New Haven Register Op-Ed – Please Read!

September 14, 2015

Op-Ed as it appeared in the New Haven Register

Forum: Sen. Rob Kane: Will economic alarm bells be heard in Hartford?

“I gave two speeches today and I had a few people come up to me and say that if they could move their businesses to another state they would.”

Those words were spoken recently by Peter Gioia, the economist and vice president for the largest, most representative business organization in Connecticut.

And Mr. Gioia wasn’t done.

“We’ve got to stop picking winners and losers. The smaller companies hear the unfortunate rhetoric that was directed at General Electric during the last budget cycle and say, ‘If that’s what they think of GE, how do they feel about me?’”

And Mr. Gioia wasn’t alone.

Economist Donald Klepper-Smith added, “Small businesses are the seed for Connecticut’s economy and we’ve failed to instill a level of confidence in them.”

Now, I’m no economist. I’m a state legislator and a small business owner.

When leading Connecticut economists are in agreement on a topic, Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol need to pay close attention.

When the New Haven area earns an “F” grade in terms of being hospitable to small businesses, as the region did in a recent survey, we all need to sit up and take note.

When one in four businesses in Connecticut say they would consider other states’ relocation pitches, alarm bells should be going off.

The questions is, will they be heard at the state Capitol?

State lawmakers’ goal should be to regain the confidence of Connecticut’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. How? Let’s resolve to work together to pass policies which eliminate onerous regulations on the business community. Get rid of costly and unnecessary government mandates. Lighten the burdens for businesses. Show them we are listening, that state government is going to help and not hinder them. Send them a clear message which shows them we want them to stay here and grow.

We shouldn’t waste any time. As soon as possible, we should pass a series of measures which shows the economists and the potential job creators that we hear them, we understand, and we are going to fix the mess we’re in.

New Haven Register readers need to play a role, too. Find out who your legislators are. Ask them if they have heard what economists and small business owners in the region are saying. Then ask them how and when they plan to take steps to put Connecticut back on the right track.

Rob Kane, a Republican from Watertown, owns a small business in Waterbury. He represents the 32nd Senate District and is a ranking member of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, which oversees state government spending. On the web,