Today’s Commercial Record reports:

The state’s largest business organization today urged lawmakers to take decisive action during the 2013 General Assembly to boost Connecticut’s struggling economic recovery and stimulate job growth.

“It’s now been five years since the recession began and two years since it technically ended,” John R. Rathgeber, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association said in a statement. “It’s time to work together and resolve the state’s serious economic and fiscal challenges.”

Rathgeber urged policymakers to address state government spending, which has surged 153 percent since 1992, far outpacing growth in inflation, population, and median household income.

“Setting appropriate spending priorities and efficiently using state tax dollars will energize business investment,” he said. “If we’re going to fix our economy, we must deal with our fiscal issues without further increases in taxes and fees.

“Only by improving Connecticut’s competiveness can good jobs be created and sustained. And that starts with giving employers the confidence to increase their investments in the state and grow their businesses here.”

The CBIA named a number of priorities it plans to lobby for during the current session on the General Assembly, which runs through June 5:

•           The adoption of a two-year budget that reduces the size and cost of government while improving its effectiveness without new tax or fee increases.

•           State taxes reform: Clarifying the manufacturing exemption for mixed-use businesses and repairs, phasing out the corporate income tax surcharge as planned, and ending the 70 percent cap on corporate tax credits for research and development.

•           Implement the aspects of the state’s new Comprehensive Energy Strategy that reduce costs for manufacturers and other businesses and allow greater flexibility to meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards.

•           Reduce healthcare costs by reducing existing health benefit mandates, rejecting future mandates, and offering employers more choice within and outside the state’s new healthcare exchange.

•           New environmental cleanup standards that help encourage private-sector development of brownfields.

•           Modifying the paid sick leave law so employers can administer it more effectively, controlling workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation costs, and rejecting captive audience and card check proposals. 

Joseph F. Brennan, CBIA senior vice president for public policy, said in a statement that those priorities recognized Connecticut’s strength as a home to innovative companies, with high value-added products and services produced by a highly skilled, well-paid workforce.

“Without a strategy to address spending and long-term liabilities, we’re looking at a dramatic reduction in the quality of life for all Connecticut citizens,” Brennan said. “Failing to create a more competitive Connecticut makes us less attractive to much-needed investment and risks a future of low-cost, less productive industries with declining wages and benefits.”

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