Gov. Malloy doesn’t get it, Fasano does [Republican-American editorial]

September 21, 2015

Republican American

By most measures, Connecticut’s business climate is terrible.

While the state’s overall rank on CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business” survey improved in 2015, Connecticut fared poorly on two key dimensions. It was No. 47 for cost of doing business, unchanged from 2014. For business-friendliness, Connecticut was No. 32, after being No. 24 in 2014. On the 2015 Survey of Connecticut Businesses — conducted by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and West Hartford-based auditing firm BlumShapiro — one-third of respondents said they have been approached about moving to or expanding in another state. Of these businesses, 85 percent said they are moving, or are considering moving or expanding out of state. They deemed Connecticut’s business environment inferior.

These results are not surprising. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has doubled down on anti-business policies since he took office in 2011. During his first term, Gov. Malloy gave the state its largest-ever tax increase; approved the nation’s first statewide paid-sick-leave mandate; coddled state-employee unions; approved two minimum-wage increases; continued raids on the Special Transportation Fund; and championed dysfunctional and dishonest budgets. After his second inauguration in January, the governor signed another messy, tax-and-spend budget that spared state employees.

The situation is serious. In this anti-business environment, it is difficult for Connecticut to compete for jobs. Gov. Malloy’s spin aside, the state’s economy struggles. Connecticut has lagged the nation in recovering jobs lost during the 2007-09 Great Recession. Gross domestic product growth has been anemic. The jobs the state does gain tend to be in the public sector, service industries or industries the Malloy administration targeted for state funding.

Senate Minority Leader Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, gets this.

Sen. Fasano has written to Gov. Malloy several times and asked him to call the legislature into special session, “to rework the budget and find a way to relieve the burdens on Connecticut employers.”

The senator was motivated by General Electric Co.’s possible relocation of its corporate headquarters to another state. GE is one of several large employers that threatened to leave Connecticut in response to an earlier version of the 2015-17 budget.

In his most recent letter, dated Sept. 10, Sen. Fasano noted Gov. Malloy responded to past letters by asking his “spokespeople to dismiss my request or you have remained silent. Obviously, that silence and inaction is unacceptable and fails to move us forward.”

That the governor didn’t immediately jump on the issue suggests he is happy with his policies or is oblivious to the trouble they cause.

That is why the 2016 and 2018 elections should be about the state’s economic future.

Republicans are advised to plan as soon as possible.

Gov. Malloy can’t make excuses. As the governor has said, “At this point, four years into this, I own this stuff.”