Rep. Themis Klarides Supports Job Creation Legislation
Republicans in the General Assembly during a debate on establishing a new budgetary commission, proposed an add-on amendment to immediately stimulate Connecticut’s long-suffering job market by repealing the business entity tax, creating a small business revolving loan fund, providing a job creation tax credit for hiring off the unemployment roles, requiring a jobs impact statement to all future legislation, and streamlining DECD permitting process. The amendment, known as the “Jobs Amendment,” was attached to HB 5534, “An Act Establishing a Revenue Accountability Commission.”
“This session was supposed to be the ‘jobs’ and ‘budget’ session. It’s disappointing that here we are, months later, with only a few session days remaining and still no ‘jobs’ or ‘budget’ legislation proposals from the super-majority party,” said Representative Themis Klarides just prior to the vote. “Connecticut needs to be more business friendly. We need more jobs and I believe job growth is the key to our economic recovery,” she said.
House Republican caucus added their amendment to the proposed legislation as a way to act immediately to solve the budget crisis, rather than create a group to study it for awhile. The original bill without the amendment language would create a commission to study the state budget revenue streams and after an unspecified amount of time, make “appropriate recommendations.” Rep. Klarides joined House Republicans, saying she voted in support of the amendment as a way for the legislators to act immediately, rather than delaying hard budgetary decisions or shirking responsibility by handing them off to a commission.
“We know the projected revenue shortfalls. Those numbers are clear. State revenue comes from taxes and I’m afraid that a commission created to study revenue streams really is a commission to designed to find more ways to tax people. On April 15th Republicans proposed a budget solution closing the deficit and containing these very same job creation measures without raising taxes. We don’t need more studying or more delays and we certainly don’t need more taxes. What we need is action and leadership. That’s why I supported this amendment,” said Rep. Klarides after the vote.
Though many Democrats spoke in favor of the amendment, vote fell largely along partisan lines. Three Democrats voted for the amendment. The job proposal was rejected 105-38.
“I’m disappointed that many of my colleagues in the majority spoke highly of the amendment and its ideas, but then encouraged fellow legislators to wait and ignore this proposal,” said Rep. Klarides.
Highlights of the jobs-creation amendment proposal include:
• Repeal of the Business Entity Tax on all businesses
o Each year all businesses, whether a restaurant, public relations firm, hair salon, a family farm, etc, must register with the state and pay a fee called the “Business Entity Tax” just for existing and doing business in the state. The tax, when first proposed, was originally supposed to be a temporary tax, but has since become a staple annual tax on businesses. Small businesses suffer the most from the flat fee.
• Creates a small business revolving loan fund
o With credit sparse, many small businesses are having trouble receiving credit to stock inventories or pay employee salaries. This fund would provide that needed credit.
• Job Creation Tax Credit Program
o This creates a tax credit for employers who employ 100 employees or less. Employers may receive a $4,800/per employee for every hire off of unemployment.
• Requires that Jobs Impact Statements accompany bills and amendments
o Connecticut is often rated as one of the most difficult states to do business in. This is a move to address the business community’s complaint that the legislature habitually passes bills without considering how they affect employers and Connecticut jobs.
• Create DECD ombudsman to streamline the permitting process for employers
o The state permitting process is often seen as a maze of red tape. This measure would expedite and simplify the permitting process for employers.