It took a while for Connecticut legislators to work out the details of the jobs bill but it only took one day in Special Session to pass it. The vote in favor of the $626 million bill designed to spur job growth in Connecticut was almost unanimous Wednesday night.
Norwich (who is campaigning for U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney’s Second District seat in Congress) and Sen. Kevin Witkos of Canton, both Republicans, were the only two lawmakers to vote against it.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who plans to sign the bill into law today, thinks the package will go a long way toward creating jobs, spurring innovation, and making the state more competitive. The proposal, he said, was the result of a true bipartisan effort.
“I’ve spoken a lot about reinventing Connecticut, and I think Democrats and Republicans working together is one illustration of that reinvention,” Gov. Malloy said. “How often do you see this happening in Washington? Putting people back to work and making Connecticut more business-friendly aren’t goals owned by any one party, and they aren’t owned by any one branch of government — no single person has cornered the market on good ideas."
Senate Republican Leader John McKinney, who represents the 28th District, which includes Easton, Fairfield, Newton and Weston, is also optimistic.
"This bill is a good first step toward putting Connecticut on more sound economic footing and it proves that state government functions best when the majority party works with the minority and focuses on solutions. The bipartisan bill achieves three Republican goals: it helps get immediate assistance to small businesses; streamlines the state's permitting process; and helps Connecticut manufacturers keep more of their profits to reinvest in their companies. The bill will not turn our state's economic tide overnight, but it will have a positive impact on job creation and job security in our state."
Highlights of the Bill
To help small businesses: A newly-created Small Business Express Package and other initiatives make $180 million available to support small business growth, with job creation incentives, financial assistance for small businesses, and training assistance. It includes small business loans and grants that range from $10,000 to $250,000.
To make it easier to do business in Connecticut: The jobs bill shortens the timeframe for obtaining critical permits, such as those required by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, eases burdensome regulations, and creates a new e-business portal to make it easier for companies to access programs and services.
To encourage innovation and entrepreneurship: The package includes $25 million for startup company loans, investments and matching grants and aims to increase the number of “angel” investors in high-tech and emerging-industry companies by lowering the minimum investment from $100,000 to $25,000.
To ensure the workforce has the skills that match business needs: The bill includes $20 million for manufacturing technology programs in vocational and technical schools and community colleges. It also lays out workforce strategies, both short-term and long-term, to meet private sector demand.