HARTFORD — Rep. Sean Williams offered a common sense message to small business owners and manufacturers during a forum recently, asking them to hold lawmakers accountable for the actions they take and proposals they at the Capitol. It was the Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s “business day” in Hartford, and Williams, who represents Watertown and Woodbury, participated in a panel discussion that had members of the state’s business community lobbing questions about the future of Connecticut’s economy and the steps the legislature will take to stimulate growth for small businesses.
A strong contingent of small businesses and their employees from communities in the greater Waterbury-area made the trip to Hartford, traveling to the Capitol on the newly-minted “Common Sense Caravan.” The Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce launched the effort so members could deliver a simple message to the legislature: Small businesses and working families can’t afford the anti business attitude rampant in the General Assembly.
Several of the panelists, including Williams, are members of the legislature’s Commerce Committee. As they fielded questions about current proposals at the Capitol, most lawmakers talked about how the committee’s pro-business initiatives had been outpaced by anti-business proposals pushed in other legislative committees.
As Williams participated in the “business day” discussion, rumblings about a controversial employee sick time proposal from majority party leadership reverberated through the Capitol complex.
After all, it was years of costly mandates handed down from government that prompted many business leaders to travel to Hartford on “business day” with hopes of making an impression on lawmakers.
Many employers, big and small, say they are opposed to the paid sick time proposal because it would not only increase their costs, but also hurt their ability to hire more workers.
Williams urged the panel’s audience to become even more active in the legislative process—urging those in the room, as well as their employees, to hold elected officials accountable for the votes they make.
“Politicians and elected officials are famous for saying one thing in their districts, then coming here and doing something completely different,” he said. “The legislature, as a whole, needs to have a message sent to it.”
“It’s your job to hold us accountable—unless we hear from you, nothing is going to change,” Williams said.