After 22 years of no job growth, Connecticut now “gets what it did wrong” and is willing to change, reinvent itself and commit to creating jobs, Governor Malloy told more than 500 leaders in business, government and academia at his Economic Summit at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
He praised the attendees as “survivors” of the recession and said he is relying on them “to grow our economy, create jobs and get us moving again. This is our battle as a state.”
Governor Malloy said the summit is designed to give everyone the “same base of knowledge” before the legislature returns for its special session on jobs October 26.
“There’s not a Republican way to grow jobs or a Democratic way to grow jobs," he said. "We’ve all got to get on the same page and get this moving.”
The event began with a “Reinventing Connecticut” video that featured several CBIA members and others talking about what they feel needs to be done to recharge the state’s economy.
Included were Jerry Long, president and CEO of PCC Technology Group; Robert Friedland, president and CEO of Proton Onsite; Andy Bessette, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Travelers; John Casey, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat; and Dave Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna.
Governor Malloy then said that his first nine months in office have been a “whirlwind” that started with a fiscal crisis and legislative session in which he balanced the budget and put the state on better financial footing.
Connecticut’s budget crisis “required everyone to give a little,” said the governor, because it was “too big to tax our way out, or cut our way out.”
As the session ended, he told legislators it was time to pivot to jobs—and to “reinvent Connecticut.”
"Too many regulations"
He then launched his summer-long jobs tour to more than 70 Connecticut businesses and organizations, where he heard that businesses need several key factors to grow again, including certainty and confidence in state government.
Businesses have felt that state government is “slow to answer, has too many regulations and is standing in the way of progress,” said the governor.
The administration has also been aggressive about pursuing opportunities that other states may have slipped on, such as landing the billion-dollar Jackson Lab Project on the campus of the University of Connecticut Health Center.
That coup will build on the major investment in the UConn Health Center the legislature passed this year to emphasize the administration’s commitment to the biosciences industry.
And both of those developments came after the “warning shot across our bow” when Pfizer moved its research arm to Massachusetts.
“They had the infrastructure and we did not,” said the governor.
After his remarks, the governor announced the launch of Startup Connecticut, a new initiative to help “high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the state.” Startup Connecticut will be part of a national network of state and regional efforts.
The event featured a full day of speakers and discussions on various aspects of Connecticut’s economy and what needs to be done to recharge it.
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