There is one thing businesses tell me they want from their state, policymakers working together to solve the state’s fiscal and long term liabilities crisis in a responsible manner without burdening them further. They want Hartford to cut back just as they have done. This includes consolidating agencies and reducing high wages, benefits and pensions.
The state must stop raising taxes and doubling fees on businesses, such as the 10% income tax surcharge for three years and a new energy tax for the next 8. New hospital, hotel, investment and bonus taxes were some of the job killing proposals that I helped to defeat this year. In addition, a unitary tax was proposed that would have devastated employers who sell products out of state such as GE. Institute a moratorium on hidden fees caused by new mandates directed at businesses, and review of all existing mandates to determine if they are needed. Seventy new mandates on health insurance plans were enacted in the last few years. Legislators should also work with business to manage increases in the unemployment compensation tax.
We need to keep state government out of areas better done in the private sector such as health insurance, energy, 401k plans; and, instruct agencies to review permitting with a plan to streamline processes. The state should also reduce times for an answer on obtaining a permit. Long wait times can kill a project.
Businesses need consistency and a level playing field to grow. We should commit to maintaining targeted tax credits for a period of years so they have time to work and not constantly change the rules . Such measures could help businesses invest in jobs with more confidence.
Finally, Connecticut should not just publicize that it is “open for business”, it must prove by its actions.