The Connecticut Business and Industry Association launched a radio ad campaign Monday urging state leaders to employ a greater sense of urgency in their efforts to solve Connecticut’s budget deficit.
Joseph Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said the state’s “precarious fiscal situation” and lack of predictability is not encouraging companies to invest in Connecticut.
“We’re concerned that if we don’t see some structural, long-term changes to the Connecticut’s budget . . . we’re going to continue to see that lack of confidence, lack of predictability that businesses talk about so often,” Brennan said during a visit to the Capitol press room Monday.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislative leaders from both parties have been meeting to find ways to resolve a $350 to $370 million budget shortfall in 2016. They are working toward having a special session on a deficit mitigation plan the week of Dec. 7.
The radio ads will run on about a dozen stations for a week. Brennan said the goal is to create a sense of urgency.
“Connecticut’s budget crisis demands immediate attention,” a narrator in the radio ad says. “The choices aren’t easy, but we must reform how state government operates and close short-and-long-term deficits without raising taxes.”
But for the business community, it’s not all about a handful of proposals to roll back some of the tax changes the legislature approved in June, Brennan said. It’s a commitment to reduce spending that sends a louder message to the business community.
He said businesses are watching very closely right now about where the state is headed and what decisions are made.
There have been at least four budget proposals made over the last six weeks. The governor has put forward one, Republicans put forward one, and the Democratic legislative caucuses have put forward their own proposals to resolve the budget shortfall.
Brennan said they appreciate the proposals the governor put forward to close a prison and reduce the state workforce through attrition. He said those types of cuts are important indications the state is serious about cutting spending into the future and reducing the cost of delivering services.
“We’re just concerned that if we don’t see some bold action this time, we may not have this opportunity again for a while,” Brennan said.
Brennan said there’s no assurances, but businesses want to know if they’re making an investment that “the tax policies they’re going to be operating under will be that way into the future, at least within reason.”
Brennan pointed out that many of the proposals to roll back some of the taxes signed into law in June don’t take effect until 2017.
“If you just see tax cuts put out there when there’s no corresponding spending reductions, then it will raise the question about whether those things are ever going to happen,” Brennan said.
Malloy and legislative leaders are expected to meet again Tuesday afternoon to see if they can come to a consensus on the budget cuts and tax changes.