HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut has moved up two spots since 2018, now ranking 35th in the CNBC survey of “Top States for Business in 2019.”
The same survey ranked Connecticut 37th in 2018. Connecticut was ranked 33rd in the survey in 2017, which was a 10 spot leap from its 43rd ranking in 2016.
The CNBC survey, released Wednesday, graded states based on more than 60 measures of competitiveness in 10 broad categories. In this year’s survey, Connecticut moved up from 16th to 15th place for the quality of its workforce and from 9th to 8th place for education. But it ranks 43rd out of 50 for its infrastructure and is also 43rd for the cost of doing business.
Connecticut’s overall profile shows that the state has a population of 3.5 million; a GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2018 of 1.8%; a top corporate tax rate of 7.5%; a top individual tax rate of 6.99%; and gasoline tax of 36.85 cents per gallon.
“This state lavishes attention on its great schools, but it can be difficult to endure the high costs,” the CNBC survey states about Connecticut.
The top 10 ranked overall states were: Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, and Ohio.
The bottom 10 were: Vermont, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maine, West Virginia, Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, Hawaii, and, coming in at 50th — Rhode Island.
As far as nearby states, besides Rhode Island’s dismal ranking, Massachusetts ranked 14th; New York ranked 27th; New Jersey ranked right behind Connecticut at 36th; and Maine came in at 44th.
Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), focused on some of the positive numbers — in particular noting that Connecticut’s ranking of 21st for business friendliness was a leap up of five from last year’s ranking of 26th in the same category.
Brennan also noted that Connecticut ranked in the top half of states in the quality of its workforce, technology and innovation, access to capital, and quality of life.
“Connecticut’s competitiveness can make a major jump in a relatively short period if we focus on getting our fiscal house in order,” Brennan said. “You can’t have economic growth without job growth, and you can’t create jobs without attracting business investment.”
Referring to the state’s multi-billion budget deficit, Brennan added: “Addressing Connecticut’s short- and long-term fiscal challenges is the key to attracting and retaining businesses and building a stronger, vibrant economy.”
The state’s dismal infrastructure ranking of 43rd has been Gov. Ned Lamont’s argument for tolls. Lamont wants to toll four highways to make it faster and safer for those who commute and use Connecticut’s roads to conduct business.
So far that argument hasn’t convinced a reluctant General Assembly, which is expected to be called back into special session the week of July 22.
However, the issue of tolls is not on the agenda.