Brookfield Chamber of Commerce Legislative Update
By State Representative David Scribner (R-107)
It is no secret that Connecticut’s current business climate is abysmal. However, the reasons behind why businesses are struggling and why we have not rebounded as quickly as other states are often debated.
I believe it is the General Assembly’s anti-business legislation and higher-than-average taxes and fees that are inhibiting recovery and growth.
A newly released study by CNBC of “America’s Top States for Business 2012” has shed light on just how bad Connecticut fares in comparison to other states, and what characteristics we have that reinforce our stifling climate.
To view the details of the study, including Connecticut’s economic profile as well as other states’ profiles, please click here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/46413845.
The study scored all 50 states on ten categories which were developed with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness.
The categories include: cost of doing business, workforce, business friendliness, technology and innovation, access to capital, cost of living, economy, education, transportation and infrastructure and quality of life.
Additionally, they weighted those categories based on how frequently they are cited in state economic development marketing materials so that the study essentially ranks states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.
Not surprisingly, Connecticut ranked a dreadful 44th place – in other words 6th worst in the country – which marks a drop from its ranking of 39th just last year.
In all fairness, it’s no secret that small businesses across the country continue to suffer due to national and international factors. However, it’s clear that there are forces at work within our state that are impeding economic recovery on the state level.
I would like to share some other key rankings and statistics that illustrate why Connecticut is consistently deemed anti-business in third party assessments:
- 5th highest cost of doing business in the country (CNBC)
- 10th worst state economy (CNBC)
- 3rd highest per capita state and local tax burden in the country (as a percent of income)
- Negative job growth over the past 20 years – we have not created one net job in two decades
- 2nd highest cost of living in the country (CNBC)
- 2nd highest gas tax in the nation
As a result of many of these factors, job growth in the first five months of 2012 is 20% slower than the same period in 2011, with over 5,000 businesses closing their doors during that period.
I have made it a priority to fight against legislation that hurts businesses, such as the first-of-its-kind paid sick leave law passed last year and the historic $1.8 billion tax increase, which included a two fold increase to the corporate tax surcharge.
I have also strongly supported bills that make Connecticut a more affordable place to work, run a business and live. The cornerstone legislation that my Republican colleagues and I proposed this year was an alternative budget adjustment package that would have reduced the size and scope of state government, which is the first step in reigning in the over-taxation and over-regulation of the private sector.
The alternative budget adjustments would have reduced state spending by over $20 million, cut taxes by over $300 million and protected the state’s social safety net for our neediest citizens.
There is a lot of work that needs to be done to make Connecticut open for business again, and unfortunately I think we’ve moved even farther from that goal in the past year.
State government needs to be more hands off of the private sector and must stop passing legislation that puts obstacles in front of small business owners.
We will not grow our economy and create jobs until we become pro-business and reign in state spending so that local businesses and the economy can thrive.