BY ALEXANDER SOULE
Hearst Connecticut Media
Addressing an audience of some 300 business leaders in Stamford recently, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy defended his vision for Connecticut – and by extension the budget revenue it will require – while giving little attention to the tax increases that resulted in General Electric and other corporations threatening to curtail their presence in the state.
Malloy spoke to members of The Business Council of Fairfield County at the group’s annual meeting at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel on July 1. A hotel ballroom was filled to capacity for Malloy’s talk, on the heels of the Connecticut General Assembly passing an amended budget that postpones until January the state’s introduction of a unitary combined reporting requirement that would expose more corporate profits to Connecticut taxes.
In advance of Malloy’s speech, First County Bank CEO Rey Giallongo drew chuckles from some in the audience in announcing GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the recipient of this year’s Walter H. Wheeler Jr. Business Leadership Award. Malloy won a few laughs himself with a quip that attendees “came here either for entertainment purposes or stoning me,” before defending his record on job creation and his work to improve education, transportation, pension obligations and his proposed “Second Chance Society” aimed at lower spending on the prison system.
“If you objectively look at what’s happened in Connecticut over the last four years … we’ve had the most sustained job improvement – year after year after year – that we’ve had at any time in our recent history,” Malloy said. “We’ve had the best half-year of job growth at any time in the last 20 years. … The reality is that we have lower taxes than New York state. We have lower effective taxes, on a corporate level, than any other state other than North Carolina.”
Asked about Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s visit to Norwalk recently to pitch his state to corporations considering a relocation, Malloy took the opportunity to respond.
“I’m sure he didn’t tell them that he has a much higher homicide rate or a crime rate; I’m sure he didn’t tell them the public schools are in shambles,” Malloy said. “I’m sure he didn’t tell them he has refused to extend Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people. … Governors are competing all the time, but our job growth is better than most. Our income growth in the first quarter of this year exceeded most states.
“MSNBC just took us from (a) 47th ranking in business friendliness to 33rd in a single year,” Malloy added. “I’m sure he didn’t tell them that either.”
Hearst Connecticut Media includes four daily newspapers: Connecticut Post, Greenwich Time, The Advocate (Stamford) and The News-Times (Danbury). See stamfordadvocate.com for more from this reporter.