Gov. Dannel P. Malloy confirmed Monday that he made a presentation to General Electric Co. officials earlier this month.
The company has had its corporate headquarters in Fairfield for 41 years, but was unhappy about some of the changes lawmakers and Malloy made in June to some of state tax policies for businesses.
Malloy didn’t offer any details of what the members of his administration may have offered the company to keep it in Connecticut with its 5,700 employees, but he said they made a presentation.
“We understand it’s a competitive situation, as it is with many of our large employers,” Malloy said Monday after an unrelated press conference.
Malloy said the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development indicated “a willingness to work with them . . . in general and in some cases specific terms of what we thought we could do.”
A spokesman for the company said it has formed an exploratory team to assess the company’s options to relocate its corporate headquarters.
“The team is currently engaged in the process and is taking many factors into consideration,” Seth Martin, a GE spokesman, said. “When there is a final decision on relocation, we will communicate it publicly.”
Malloy declined to say whether he thought the company already had one foot out the door. He said GE asked Connecticut to give them a presentation and it’s had other states in for presentations. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also has met with GE officials, according to a report in Capital New York.
“We won’t know what the situation is until they make a decision,” Malloy said.
He said Connecticut stands “ready to work with them on issues of concern and be competitive with other states.”
Malloy said the last face-to-face discussion with GE officials took place during the week of Aug. 10.
Rep. John Frey, R-Ridgefield, said Monday in a phone interview that if Democratic lawmakers and Malloy agreed to get rid of the unitary tax between the time they passed the budget on June 3 to the time they modified it on June 29—they would have kept GE in Connecticut.
He said losing 5,700 jobs at this “legacy company” will have a far greater impact on Connecticut’s economy than the 100 or so jobs being created at an Amazon sorting center.
Frey, who had discussions with GE’s executives, said he warned Malloy months ago that GE was not bluffing. He said the problem with Connecticut, which he hears from business leaders across the state, is the lack of “predictable tax policy.”
Frey said Malloy said “17 times” he wasn’t going to raise taxes and then signed a budget with $1.3 billion in tax increases over two years. Frey said he doesn’t want GE to leave, but he can’t fault them for exploring their options.
“I hope it’s wrong and they stay,” Frey said of GE. “But we opened up the door to other states and GE is listening.”