But CBIA speech reiterates support for paid sick leave
HARTFORD — When the Connecticut Business & Industry Association published an open letter to Connecticut’s new governor Dannel P. Malloy January 3, it didn’t have to wait long for a response — Malloy already had agreed to speak at the organization’s annual Economic Summit and Outlook in Hartford January 7.
In the letter, published in six newspapers statewide, CBIA congratulated Malloy on his narrow victory in the governor’s race and then got down to business, urging Malloy to make economic recovery a top priority, reform the way the state delivers services, and work with Connecticut companies to encourage investment in new products and services and retain jobs.
In his speech, Malloy agreed that state government needs to improve the way it regulates and works with businesses, and he pledged to be “intricately involved” in efforts to boost economic development.
However, he said businesses will have to share in the sacrifices that will be needed to pull the state out of its deep budget crisis. The state faces a $3.7 billion budget deficit over the next two years.
“I cannot cut our way out of that deficit and be the state that we as Connecticut residents aspire to be,” he said, adding that cutting spending would slash services for the poor, education, public safety and other services. But he also said it would be a mistake to rely solely on tax hikes to emerge from the recession because that would kill any hopes of bringing back the 90,000 jobs the state has lost.
CBIA President John Rathgeber said Malloy’s speech “set a good tone.”
“He underscored the importance of economic revitalization and encouraged business leaders to be willing to make investments in the state,” Rathgeber said. “His message was that we’re not only looking to solve the current budget problems but to put some stability into our budget process going forward so that people thinking of making investments in Connecticut will know the climate for the long term.”
Rathgeber said business leaders will be watching carefully to see whether Malloy acts to improve the performance of state government and cut government expenses through increased efficiency and better use of technology. He also said business leaders hope to see Malloy reach out and work with them to learn about the competitive pressures they face and help them grow.
Malloy also touched on a key disagreement between Democratic legislators and business leaders over the issue of mandating paid sick leave for private employers in Connecticut. CBIA argues that businesses can’t afford such a mandate and that it would send a strong anti-business message to other companies that might otherwise consider locating in the Nutmeg State.
But Malloy reiterated his support for the mandate in his speech, saying that while he is open to negotiating details, he stands behind the basic concept.
— Steve Higgins
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