To the editor:
When GE and other major employers warned that onerous taxes and financial instability would make it impossible for them to stay in Connecticut, the state’s response could be described as novice at best, similar to a minor league player in a World Series game.
The Governor’s office made a huge faux pas when it showcased GE’s competitor’s engine in its final pitch to persuade them to stay. This lack of seriousness was ill-advised. The prospect that GE might leave was continually predicted, and its urgency was apparent to anyone listening to the plain speech of its leadership.
Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, stated in September: "We want to be in some place where people support job creation, which is attractive to talent, good cost of living, and it is supportive in what a high-tech exporter has to be all about."
Mr. Immelt’s remarks could fairly be described as the opposite of Connecticut’s actual attitude toward business.
Over the years, I have seen state leadership enact numerous laws that poisoned the state’s business climate. Having failed to anticipate the consequences of these policies, the majority party’s response to GE’s decision has been too little and come far too late.
December’s special session was an opportunity to demonstrate Connecticut’s seriousness about changing financial course. Sadly, it was squandered through halfhearted legislation that did little to convince GE and others that the state was determined to follow a more sustainable fiscal and regulatory path.
That one of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies has decided to uproot itself is a warning legislators must take to heart. Either we change Connecticut’s attitude toward business or risk greater losses in the years ahead.
Given the shortsightedness of Connecticut’s tax and spend policies, we should be dismayed, but not surprised, that GE has decided its needs would best be served elsewhere. The time to solve Connecticut’s fiscal issues is now, before other employers large and small decide to follow GE’s lead.
Sen. Toni Boucher
She represents the 26th District towns of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton in the State Senate.
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