February 7, 2018

CBIA: Job, economic growth must be 2018 legislative priorities

HBJ file photo
HBJ file photo
CBIA CEO Joe Brennan.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association's 2018 legislative agenda focuses on building Connecticut's workforce while growing the state's economy.

"Connecticut's great strengths as a place to live, work, and do business are challenged every day by competition from other states and nations," CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan said. "The status quo is not sufficient: State lawmakers must adopt bold reforms that will signal to businesses large and small that Connecticut is going to compete fiercely in the global economy and become an economic leader."

CBIA has been working with the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth as they tackle some of the state's largest fiscal challenges that have been inhibiting economic growth in the state. The commission's report is due by the end of March.

To build Connecticut's workforce, Brennan says, lawmakers must do three things:

  • Supply manufacturers with the talent to fill an estimated 13,000 jobs in companies large and small;
  • Reject costly and complex workplace mandates and taxes that make job creation and retention more expensive; and
  • Insist that state technical high schools and community colleges expand faculty pools with real-world experience (as called for in legislation last year).

CBIA also calls for adjustments in eight key areas: sustainable state spending and tax policy; education and workforce development; labor and employment; energy; environment; regulatory reform; transportation; and bioscience and healthcare.

Some of the resolutions include:

  • Removing barriers blocking municipalities from sharing services;
  • Implementing an economic development strategy that addresses critical obstacles to growth identified by bioscience and technology employers, including access to venture capital; and
  • Making long overdue benefit reforms to restore solvency to the Unemployment Trust Fund.

In arguing for change, Brennan cites recent reports that show that while Connecticut added 7,700 jobs (0.5 percent) in 2017, the state has only recovered 76 percent of the jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession and is one of the few states that still hasn't reached a full economic recovery.

CBIA's legislative agenda is available here.

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