"RELEASE: CT lawmakers should back jobs-focused bills in session’s final push"

Hartford, CT (June 6, 2017) – Today, as the CT General Assembly readies for the 2017 legislative session's final push; state lawmakers should prioritize jobs-focused legislation that will help grow the state's economy, according to the CT based non-profit advocacy group Campaign for Tomorrow’s Jobs.

Connecticut has the slowest post-recession job recovery rate in New England. While Connecticut has recovered less than 75 percent of jobs lost during the recession, neighboring Massachusetts has recovered over 290 percent, and New York has recovered more than 300 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national average for post-recession job recovery is 184 percent.

“We know that state leaders care deeply about reversing this trend and growing Connecticut’s economy,” said Brett Broesder, co-founder and vice president of Campaign for Tomorrow’s Jobs. “We believe that by enacting policies that create jobs, in the short-term and for the long run, our state will become a place where more companies want to invest and hire people.”

Here are several bills that, if passed and signed into law, will help to grow our state’s economy:

HB 5583 – An Act Expanding Investment Eligibility Under the State’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program

  • Status: Awaiting Senate action (passed the House, 144-0)
  • This bill opens the angel investor tax credit program to businesses in any industry, instead of just those in specified technology industries and generally, restricts the amount of credits that may be awarded for investments in companies in those technology industries. It's important because angel investors provide much-needed capital to small businesses and startups, and startups that receive angel investor funds grow employment by 40 percent more than non-angel funded startups.

HB 5584 – An Act Creating a Small Business Hotline

  • Status: Awaiting Senate action (passed the House, 141-8)
  • This bill establishes a one-stop-shop business hotline, where small business owners can have their questions about red tape readily answered. It’s important because it seeks to significantly relieve the amount of time that small business owners spend dealing with government red tape, which on average is 200 hours annually, according to a Babson College Study.

HB 5928 – An Act Establishing a Manufacturer Permit for Farm Breweries

  • Status: Awaiting Senate action (passed the House 146-0)
  • This bill creates a farm brewery manufacturer permit, which allows for, among other things, the manufacture, storage, bottling, and wholesale distribution and sale of beer manufactured at any place or premises located on a farm, and for the production of up to 75,000 gallons of beer annually per permittee. It's important because it eases overly restrictive zoning regulations, recognizes the agricultural connection between farms and local products, encourages local farmers to grow and use ingredients for the brewing of beer, and allows farm breweries to advertise as "Connecticut Craft Beer."

HB 7126 – An Act Regulating Transportation Network Companies and Taxicabs

  • Status: Awaiting Senate action (passed the House 103-39)
  • This bill creates a new regulatory structure for transportation network companies (TNCs) (e.g., Uber and Lyft) and modifies certain aspects of taxi and livery vehicle regulations to make them more similar to the structure the bill creates for TNCs. It's important because it helps our state secure the economic and safety benefits of the ridesharing industry, and ensures that ridesharing companies are operating reasonably and safely.

HB 7255 – An Act Establishing a Task Force to Conduct a Feasibility Study Regarding the Creation of a Special Education Predictable Cost Cooperative

  • Status: Awaiting Senate action (passed the House 139-9)
  • The bill requires a special education task force to conduct a feasibility study on state special education spending. In conducting the study, no state agency shall incur costs of more than $1,000, shifting the cost to any not-for-profit organization donating funds to the task force. It's important because Connecticut is one of only four states without a system for funding all of its special education students, and changing the way special education is funded has the potential to make it easier for districts and municipalities alike to plan their budgets while meeting the needs of tomorrow's workforce.

SB 623 – An Act Establishing the 7/7 Program to Encourage the Redevelopment of Brownfields and Underutilized Property

  • Status: Awaiting House action (passed the Senate 36-0)
  • This bill provides a package of tax incentives, available in two seven-year stages, depending on whether the property was contaminated and remediated, to property owners after they remediate, redevelop, and use property that was contaminated, abandoned, or underutilized. To enter the program, property owners must commit to the training and hiring of students to work at the redeveloped property. It’s important because the program encourages the redevelopment of brownfields and abandoned and underutilized sites, which helps to increase property values and create jobs.

HB 7097 – An Act Concerning the Licensing of New and Used Car Dealers

  • Status: Awaiting House and Senate action
  • The bill seeks to change existing laws related to vehicle sales and would allow manufacturers, such as Tesla, to open brick-and-mortar stores across Connecticut where they can sell cars directly to consumers. It’s important because it allows innovative companies to flourish, create jobs, and better positions our state in the competition with others for tomorrow’s jobs.

SB 837 – An Act Concerning Apprenticeship Opportunities for High Growth, High Demand Jobs

  • Status: Awaiting Senate and House action
  • The bill requires a task force to identify high growth, high demand jobs and analyze the implementation and creation of partnerships that provide apprenticeship opportunities for such jobs. It’s important because the demand for skilled workers is growing across Connecticut, and by identifying opportunities in job fields where apprenticeships will have the biggest impact, we can help grow local businesses while preparing our future workforce to fill tomorrow’s jobs.

"Now more than ever, it's critical to get Connecticut's economy growing at a faster pace," said Broesder. "We believe this is possible if state leaders adopt a jobs-focused policy agenda that gives entrepreneurs and small businesses the tools they need to innovate and grow, and prepares tomorrow's workforce to compete for tomorrow's jobs."

About Campaign for Tomorrow’s Jobs

The Campaign for Tomorrow’s Jobs is a non-profit organization that focuses on growing Connecticut’s economy for present and future generations in three key policy areas: workforce preparedness, business growth & innovation and fiscal sustainability. Read more at www.tomorrowsjobs.org.

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