On October 12th, House Republicans held a forum in Hartford where more than 50 business owners and executives shared their frustrations over Connecticut’s poor business climate as well as their ideas for turning it around.
Unfortunately, this is the same frustrating story I have been hearing for quite a while, especially in the Greater Waterbury Area. This summer, I invited local businesses to tell me their story and their struggles to keep their doors open after facing Governor Malloy’s new and increased taxes in 2011.
If we want to make Connecticut an easier place to do business, there’s no one better to listen to than folks dealing with these issues. Small businesses, which make up 80% of America’s business community, are truly the front line of our economic engine right here in Connecticut.
I watched the 2011 legislative session conclude without a single action to make Connecticut a better place to do business. In fact, Governor Malloy and the Democratic majority gave businesses a slap in the face by raising their taxes and passing a mandatory paid sick leave. I fought both of these devastating measures.
What I find truly ironic is how immediately following one of the most painful legislative sessions for job creators, Governor Malloy called for a special session he would refer to as a “job session”. On Oct. 26 a special legislative session will be focused on improving a state business climate that ranks among the nation’s worst.
House Republicans have been touring businesses across the state, taking the temperature of these critical job creators. And there is no question that entrepreneurs and owners are boiling over mad and frustrated with Connecticut and its governmental policies. Nearly every business owner or company executive who spoke described their bad experiences in trying to navigate a seemingly endless, cumbersome and costly set of state regulations spread across several agencies. In many cases, success required the assistance of a paid consultant.
Take for instance, Dijanna Barbino, owner of Casa Dijanna Bar & Grill in Watertown, who spoke to me about how Connecticut’s over-regulation and high taxes have a negative impact on her small business, sometimes making her question why she even stays open.
In addition, I visited The Siemon Company, a family-owned manufacturing business in Watertown, who discussed how they have less Connecticut workers now than they did 10 years ago due to all the onerous regulations and taxes. They said legislation like paid sick leave is an example of a mandate that make them have consider leaving Connecticut if things don’t fundamentally change.
As a prime example at the House Republican business forum, Donald DeVido, the owner of the DATTCO Bus Company talked, about how it takes 8-12 weeks for a driver criminal background check and by the time it comes back the driver has usually found another job unable to wait that long for a job. The DATTCO owner said he could hire 50 people tomorrow if government just worked for business instead of against it. He said the long wait is forcing him to lose some of the most qualified drivers because of the bureaucratic paperwork.
I, like many, hope the Governor is serious this time about jobs. It’s time to start listening to people that fuel this economic locomotive not to government bureaucrats.
Please feel free to contact my office at 1-800-842-1423 to voice your comments or concerns on the issue of jobs other issues of the day. If you would like to receive regular updates from my office please go to www.repwilliams.com and sign up to get my e-newsletter and latest videos.