As state government’s fiscal challenges became increasingly daunting, politicians for years nonetheless downplayed the risk and wooed voters with unrealistic promises. Last story in a five-part series
Among other lessons, the move provides further evidence that large, isolated, one-tenant suburban office parks, such as the sleek but aging campus that GE has occupied since 1974 on 68 arboreal acres in Fairfield, have seen their day.
Back in January, General Electric announced that it will be moving its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston, Mass. Since that announcement, corporate lobbyists have pushed the narrative that GE’s move was motivated by higher taxes and a so-called ‘bad business climate.’ And the move has been mentioned often to rationalize drastic and harmful budget cuts and austerity measures. But a smart look at the facts shows that GE’s move has been portrayed inaccurately and we have taken the wrong lessons for the experience.
From what I have briefly researched, the top 1 percent income earners in Connecticut — 14,000 households among 1.4 million statewide — earn above $677,000 per year. These are our fellow citizens targeted for punishment by our state workers and anybody else protecting their worthy cause, meaning something that only others should be paying for.
Missing from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget address on this year’s opening day of the legislative session was any mention of GE’s departure from the state. Of course, a leader must focus on the future and direct attention away from the negative. But why ignore reality? The only thing I can say for his speech is that at least pointing out the few companies that are investing in our state was more convincing than again spouting the “need for transportation and a high-tech atmosphere” as the reason for GE’s relocation.
While the partisan debate over GE’s departure from Connecticut continues, a major Wall Street rating agency sees a correlation between the move and the state’s ongoing fiscal and economic woes. Moody’s Investors Service cited the impending move as it issued a “credit negative” — not a formal rating downgrade — but rather a public statement about a development that could harm Connecticut’s financial standing in the long run.
We love Connecticut! And that is why we are discouraged by the constant negativity we hear about our state. We need to stop disparaging this special place. Rather than sitting back and criticizing our current state of affairs, let’s work together to appreciate all that Connecticut offers while also taking the steps necessary to secure a promising and prosperous future.
General Electric’s corporate-headquarters move from Connecticut to Boston has been inaccurately described as a decision based solely on taxes. This characterization might be understandable, given GE’s public outcry over the legislature’s adoption of a common-sense policy known as mandatory combined reporting, which requires profitable corporations to pay their fair share. On the other hand, Massachusetts has long had such a policy on the books and is also seriously considering a millionaires tax.
Has State Sen. Toni Boucher taken the blue pill? She seems a little ignorant of the most basic facts about the reality of General Electric. Ginning up a false narrative about onerous taxes and Connecticut’s anti-business climate can hardly be taken seriously at this point. These billion dollar corporations, now more powerful than governments, leverage that power to get unnecessary sweetheart deals, use tax loopholes and armies of lobbyists to rig the game to not only get out of paying their fair share in taxes, but in GE’s case actually having the Federal Government pay them or paying a nominal effective state tax rate.
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 they showcased GE’s competitor’s engine in their final pitch to persuade them to stay.
The challenge for state government, said economists and business leaders Wednesday, will be to find the resources to invest – in transportation, information technology and higher education – as the cost of public-sector retirement benefits spikes over the next decade to 15 years.
The company says Boston was selected “after a careful evaluation of the business ecosystem, talent, long-term costs, quality of life for employees, connections with the world and proximity to other important company assets.”
State budget talks made little progress Wednesday but will continue for at least one more day as legislators from both sides conceded a self-imposed deadline is nearly upon them. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also hopes to extract new business tax relief from these talks and confirmed he continues to talk with General Electric in hopes of keeping the major corporation in Connecticut.
In the news: The Iran nuclear pact survives; GE lobbies for the Export-Import Bank; the number in Connecticut without health insurance drops; the delegation opposes defunding Planned Parenthood; and the UConn women’s basketball team shows up at the White House — again.
WASHINGTON – Several members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation Wednesday promised General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt whatever help he needed in Washington. “We offered to do whatever we can,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.