In January, GE announced that they were leaving Connecticut for Massachusetts, sending shockwaves through every corner of the state.
While much progress has been made over the last six years to make our state a more competitive place to do business, the fact one of the world’s most innovative companies decided to pack up and leave was a real call to action.
Connecticut used to be home to some of the world’s most innovative companies. From Eli Whitney to Samuel Colt, from the frisbee to the submarine, our state has long been a pioneer, setting the standard for businesses that change the world.
Despite these setbacks, or maybe because of them, Connecticut is taking a good hard look at itself and the kind of state it wants to be. Will Connecticut welcome innovation and open the doors to businesses wanting to invest in the state or slam that door shut? Fortunately, there are positive signs from some of our leaders in Hartford that the door is open.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff recently introduced a bill that would allow electric-car companies like Tesla to sell their vehicles directly to consumers. With the backing of Transportation Committee Chairs Guerrera and Maynard and the hard work of Senator Leone and other members of the committee, this bill was voted out of committee and now awaits debate in the Senate. Passage of this bill would send a strong signal of support to new companies with a desire to invest in Connecticut and provide a beneficial economic impact on the state’s economy.
Tesla comes to Connecticut with the promise to invest in the state and create jobs. And best of all, they’re not looking for a handout from the state do it.
Having already invested in a dedicated service center in Milford, Tesla wants to open up additional stores and service centers. Each Tesla store would generate $8 to $10 million of economic activity and $1.68 million in sales tax revenue, all while creating as many as a dozen to two dozen jobs. In addition to the good pay and benefits, these jobs will give residents the opportunity to be at the forefront of the future of transportation.
Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of this bill is the fact that there is already a proven market for Tesla in Connecticut, in spite of the hurdles that exist today. There are currently more than 1,000 Tesla vehicles registered in the State. That type of growth is remarkable given the fact that to even test drive a Tesla, a Connecticut resident has to cross state lines. And if you want to buy one, you have to go to New York or Massachusetts or order one online. This makes no sense whatsoever.
Limiting Tesla’s ability to sell its cars directly to Connecticut residents not only diminishes the opportunity for positive economic impact, but quells a resident’s ability to easily invest in an eco-friendly car that is very much in line with the leadership of Connecticut’s stance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We have an opportunity to change this unfair and unjustified law.
Connecticut and its leaders need to stand by Tesla to ensure the future prosperity of all businesses in Connecticut as well as the standing of the State as a home to burgeoning companies across every sector.
Earl H. Nemser is the Vice Chairman of the Interactive Brokers Group.