Governor Malloy, you’re simply not being honest about how you bungled GE. You know it, and I know it.
In response to criticism recently leveled against you, you said last Monday that you “would still be facing criticism if had you also offered GE $162 million, the amount Boston and Massachusetts offered in incentives.”
First of all, if you didn’t sign into law tax increases (which had no public hearing, were retroactive and after saying at least 17 times that you wouldn’t raise taxes), GE wouldn’t have begun, last June, their relocation efforts. As you will recall, GE issued an unusually strong statement of concern at the time, and they were joined by IBM, Aetna, Travelers, and Boehringer Ingelheim.
It was after YOUR action that GE formed their relocation committee and began talking to other states about their future. As they told you — and me — that they would.
They didn’t think you were taking them seriously, and sadly they were right. In spite of your “this hurts” and “you win some and you lose some” comments after their headquarters move was announced, it’s about time you take some responsibility.
You and your staff made several missteps during the GE negotiations. Who can forget when, at your initial presentation in Fairfield to save them, you showed GE a PowerPoint presentation with a picture of a Pratt & Whitney engine instead of one produced by GE? You couldn’t even get something so simple as choosing a picture for a PowerPoint presentation right.
GE was clear that they didn’t want a “GE deal” — they simply wanted the surprise tax increase, which would cost them $1 billion over eight years, removed from the budget.
Yet, your recent comment would seemingly indicate that you conveniently forget that you also offered them tax incentives to stay, and offered to match any other state’s offer.
And let’s remember, large incentives like the one offered by Massachusetts aren’t foreign to you. Are you forgetting the $300 million to Jackson labs for a 300 job guarantee?
We have an unstable business climate in this state because businesses cannot adequately plan for the future when the governor and legislature can go back on their promises and rip the rug out from under them at any moment.
Just a few weeks ago, CNBC ranked Connecticut 43rd in terms of best states to do business in, according to their annual rankings, dropping a staggering 10 slots since last year!
GE is one of the largest and most visible companies in the state and you still completely disregarded their concerns. How do you expect other businesses, whether they are corporations or mom-and-pop shops, to take your promises seriously? How do you expect Connecticut to ever be seen as business friendly if you cannot keep your promises to the business community?
If you had taken GE’s concerns seriously, they would not have left.
If you had listened, they would not have left.
You need to start listening and own your mistakes, Governor Malloy.
You didn’t follow through on your promise not to raise taxes, but GE certainly followed through on their promise to look into moving elsewhere.
Learn from this mistake. Own the fact that you did not listen and take them seriously.
John Frey is the State Representative for the 111th District in Ridgefield.
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