Malloy administration mum on possible aid to keep GE in state

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration on Thursday would neither confirm nor deny a media report that it was preparing an aggressive package of economic assistance to keep General Electric from moving its headquarters out of state.

Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia referred all questions about an article in the Connecticut Post to the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which issued a brief written statement.

“While we cannot disclose conversations with individual companies, we always fight aggressively to cultivate growth among companies already here as well as attract new ones,” the department wrote.

In an article Wednesday, the Post reported that Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau said the administration was preparing an aggressive offer to GE in response to a visit New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently made to the company’s Fairfield headquarters.

GE was one of several major Connecticut employers that publicly criticized Malloy and the General Assembly after they negotiated a new biennial budget that would have increased state taxes about $1.5 billion across this fiscal year and next combined.

Malloy relented on the deal his administration originally signed off on, and pressed his fellow Democrats in the legislature’s majority to scale back the overall tax hike.

A revised two-year plan was enacted in late June that reduced the overall two-year tax hike by just over $175 million, including repeal of a planned tripling of the state tax on data processing services.

State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, one of the most vocal critics of the tax hikes in the new state budget, chastised Democratic legislative leaders for dismissing GOP warnings that this could lead businesses to leave the state.

“These lawmakers feel strongly that GE is not negatively impacted by the new state budget,” Fasano said. “So why is Governor Malloy prepping a taxpayer-funded aid package for GE less than two months after he signed the state budget into law?”

The Post article also asserts that a bidding war has broken out for GE’s corporate base of operations.

And Bloomberg news reported Wednesday on its website that GE was weighing a possible move of its headquarters to Atlanta.

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