Connecticut Business Day 2011

Today was Connecticut Business Day at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy spoke to a packed auditorium of business leaders who came from all over the state. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association and Connecticut Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives co-hosted the event. I’ve been several times over the years, and 2011 marks the best turnout yet. Unfortunately, the strong turnouts occur when the economy has been weakened and the state budget is in deep trouble. Businesses were hammered during the recession and now the threat of bad bills (e.g. higher taxes, additional mandates, weaker incentives) might make things worse.

Governor Malloy’s budget calls for $1.5B to $2B of new taxes. He claims to have “spread the pain,” but clearly there will be a negative impact on businesses. I know that Connecticut companies cannot escape without absorbing higher taxes. The state legislature now has to debate the budget and pass it, or some version of it. I won’t go on and on about the details of the budget and how it might affect manufacturers. My hope is that business leaders AND the employees of small and mid-sized businesses continue to speak out. Our businesses are the engines of job growth. The big companies have the slack, so they don’t hire like they used to. The small companies need the skilled laborers with good attitudes. With margins so thin in this tenuous economic recovery, higher business costs are a big concern. This budget will be an interesting debate.

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