It took a while for Connecticut legislators to work out the details of the jobs bill but it only took one day in Special Session to pass it. The vote in favor of the $626 million bill designed to spur job growth in Connecticut was almost unanimous Wednesday night.
Norwich (who is campaigning for U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney’s Second District seat in Congress) and Sen. Kevin Witkos of Canton, both Republicans, were the only two lawmakers to vote against it.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who plans to sign the bill into law today, thinks the package will go a long way toward creating jobs, spurring innovation, and making the state more competitive. The proposal, he said, was the result of a true bipartisan effort.
“I’ve spoken a lot about reinventing Connecticut, and I think Democrats and Republicans working together is one illustration of that reinvention,” Gov. Malloy said. “How often do you see this happening in Washington? Putting people back to work and making Connecticut more business-friendly aren’t goals owned by any one party, and they aren’t owned by any one branch of government –no single person has cornered the market on good ideas."
Legislative Leaders Reactions
Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr.: “We took giant steps today in the State of Connecticut to cut taxes for small businesses, eliminate burdensome regulations, give employers the loans and incentives they need to expand and hire, and move students from the classroom to the factory floor as quickly as possible. This is a solid, bipartisan jobs victory for the people of Connecticut.”
House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan: “Connecticut families want jobs and a strong economy. We targeted small businesses and the unemployed. Because we worked together, people will go back to work. This bill gives them more than hope. It gives them a program that invests in their future. It fosters an environment that will create jobs, help small businesses grow, spur innovation, educate and train our workforce, and make Connecticut competitive again.”
Senate Republican Leader John McKinney: "This bill is a good first step toward putting Connecticut on more sound economic footing and it proves that state government functions best when the majority party works with the minority and focuses on solutions. The bipartisan bill achieves three Republican goals: it helps get immediate assistance to small businesses; streamlines the state's permitting process; and helps Connecticut manufacturers keep more of their profits to reinvest in their companies. The bill will not turn our state's economic tide overnight, but it will have a positive impact on job creation and job security in our state."
House Minority Leader Larry Cafero: "This proves that when there is a free and open exchange of ideas across the political aisle we can do good things that are in the best interests of all of Connecticut. Our work does not end with this successful effort, it begins. Small businesses, the engine of job creation in Connecticut, will benefit greatly from this legislation."
Highlights of the Bill
To help small businesses: A newly-created Small Business Express Package and other initiatives make $180 million available to support small business growth, with job creation incentives, financial assistance for small businesses, and training assistance. It includes small business loans and grants that range from $10,000 to $250,000.
To make it easier to do business in Connecticut: The jobs bill shortens the timeframe for obtaining critical permits, such as those required by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, eases burdensome regulations, and creates a new e-business portal to make it easier for companies to access programs and services.
To encourage innovation and entrepreneurship: The package includes $25 million for startup company loans, investments and matching grants and aims to increase the number of “angel” investors in high-tech and emerging-industry companies by lowering the minimum investment from $100,000 to $25,000.
To ensure the workforce has the skills that match business needs: The bill includes $20 million for manufacturing technology programs in vocational and technical schools and community colleges. It also lays out workforce strategies, both short-term and long-term, to meet private sector demand.
Lawmakers Give Jackson Lab the Thumbs Up
Legislators also voted in favor of a more contentious bill to provide $291 million in state funding to bring Jackson Laboratory to the University of Connecticut Health Center. According to a press release issued by Gov. Malloy, the deal is, “A collaborative effort between Jackson Laboratory, the State of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut and Yale University, the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine."
The overall goal is accelerate the development of new medical treatments tailored to each patient’s unique genetic makeup.
Permanent jobs associated with the facility total more than 6,800 over 20 years, including 300 direct jobs within 10 years and 600 direct jobs within 20 years, according to the Governor's office.
The total 20-year capital and research budget for the institute is projected to be $1.1 billion, with Jackson Laboratory providing $809 million through federal research grants, philanthropy and service income, and the State of Connecticut contributing $291 million ($192 million in a secured construction loan and $99 million in research partnership participation).
For every $1 the state is spending on this project, Jackson Laboratory will spend $3, states a press release issued by the governor's office.
This article is based on information provided in press releases from the Governor’s office released after the vote late last night.