Senate GOP leader: stop giving governor blank checks for businesses

The Senate voted Wednesday night to increase the amount of money the governor can use to induce out-of-state companies to relocate here or to keep them from leaving the state– a move that infuriates Senate Minority Leader John McKinney.

“We are the co-equal branch of government,” McKinney said before the bill was adopted in a 24-12 vote. Two Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor of the bill.

McKinney is displeased that the bill will give the governor unilateral authority to grant up to $26.7 million to companies. The program — aimed at improving the economy in Connecticut — currently is able to award companies up to $20 million without legislative approval.

Several businesses already located in the state have entered into agreements with the state, winning them millions of taxpayer dollars.

“The joke of it is [Bridgewater Associates] was never leaving Connecticut,” McKinney said. He was referring to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s deal with the world’s largest hedge fund, granting the company up to $115 million in state assistance to relocate its Westport headquarters in Stamford rather than New York or New Jersey.

“This is just rank hypocrisy,” McKinney said, listing opposition from legislators on attempts by the previous Republican governor to offer assistance packages to businesses relocating throughout the state. “How do you look yourselves in the mirror?”

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

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