Governor Malloy and Catherine Smith Discuss Economic Incentives

Our monthly check-in also talks about higher education and gun policy.

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Governor Dannel Malloy
Photo:Chion Wolf
Commissioner Catherine Smith from the Department of Economic and Community Development
Photo:Chion Wolf
Governor Malloy and Catherine Smith Discuss Economic Incentives
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Governor Malloy and Catherine Smith Discuss Economic Incentives

Governor Dannel Malloy’s popularity is at an all-time high, jumping five points in a new poll to 48 percent. What do people like about the job the governor’s doing? Well, they say he’s good in a crisis...and he’s had plenty of those to deal with.

They’re less pleased with his handling of the state budget and tax policy.

A big part of his time in office has been spent trying to overhaul the state’s economy - investing millions in programs like “First Five” - which promises incentives to certain companies that create new jobs.

Joseph Brennan from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association acknowledges Malloy’s support is split on this effort, too. Brennan says Malloy is in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

"There’s a lot of criticism over certain programs but on the other hand, if you don’t have competitive economic programs and lose companies to other states, then you get criticized for that," Brennan added.

Today, our monthly sit down with Governor Malloy - and his commissioner of Economic and Community Development, Catherine Smith. 



Email from James

Thank you so much for doing this show on business in CT. I could call in with this question if necessary, but my question concerns small business development. I was in the middle of growing my custom home and commercial audio/video installation business when the recession began. I had a leased office space in the center Plantsville, employed two other people and was gladly supporting our states economy as it was supporting me. Within months of the downturn and the near collapse of the building and custom remodeling industry in central CT, I was forced to let the employees go, and leave the leased space in favor of a home office.
As the building and remodeling markets now begin to come back, I am optimistic about our prospects for 2013 and 2014, but I am extremely hesitant to grow, and do not have the capital to begin the regrowth phase that I had available in my first go-round. I perceive my position to be that of the majority of small businesses in CT that "survived"
(terrible to even find it necessary to use that word to describe the last 4-5yrs) the recession, and with the programs you are discussing how does someone like me who has proven themselves over ten years and weathered the worst economic storm we ever could have imagined find the first steps in the process? Where do I specifically go online? Whom do I call?
In addition to my business, I have also developed a product concept for a weather related implement that I am just beginning the process of seeking investment funds for, so that I may develop and patent a prototype. I would love nothing more that to establish this product and company in CT, and manufacture it within CT. What vehicles do the Governor and Cathy recommend for me in terms of development grants or state assistance if anything of the sort exists.

I know it's a two-parter, and I apologize. I've been a busy bee of late trying to innovate and cultivate as so many of my fellow entrepreneur's in this state have. :-)

Email from Bob

As a small business owner I have tried no less than 6 times during November and December of 2012 to contact DECD by phone (left voice mail) through their web site by filling out a contact form and by e-mail always making sure that my contact info was very clear. I am sure that the department is just simply overwhelmed with requests. I have never gotten any contact back from that office. I find this very frustrating. In 2008 our company made a commitment by buying a larger production facility. At that time we had 12 employees and multiple contracts. The largest of them was for $750,000.00. The property closing was on 12/2/08 on 12/21/08 we received a call from our client canceling the $750,000.00 contract. Since that time it was down hill until mid 2012. We are down to 3 employees now but picking up more work. Our issues stem from not being able to fund jobs. It is a daily challenge to meet the financial commitments to build the company back up. A little help from DECD would go a long way.

Email from Bob

I am a supporter or yours and admire what you are doing for our state. We are fortunate to have you and your talented team working for us.

Could you please explain the automobile tax program you have supported? It seems many local head of government are against it; I am sure it is beneficial, but at present I don’t understand it.

Email from Matt

Dear Governor, before you jump to gun control legislation please all all the facts. You, as well as our senators seem to be uneducated about guns. An AR-15 is no more deadly than a pistol they both only only shoot as fast as your finger pulls the trigger. Just because an AR-15 looks bigger and badder than most guns doesn't make it more deadly. For example a .223 round is much smaller than a .270 or a .308. Why is there no talk of that? A slug gun is a much bigger shot than a .223 but we don't ban those. We don't blame AAA for drunk drivers or ban cars because of accidents. So don't touch my ability to protect myself or my family. Shall not be infringed was written for a reason. Just because a few people commit crime doesn't mean we punish the law abiding. Most gun deaths are done is major cities, like here in Connecticut, New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford. Crimes committed by criminals and thugs. Bad guys dot follow laws. So do not take away my rights as a law abiding America.

Email from Jess

Connecticut has recently announced plans to create a pipeline to release inmates through medical parole to receive federal aid through the Medicaid program following states like California, Texas and Washington.

With aging prison populations and soaring healthcare costs across the nation, how will you ensure Medicaid funds are secured for mental health programs and America's most vulnerable groups, including struggling families and the elderly?

Email from Nicole

I am a resident of Rocky Hill. I have some questions for Mr. Malloy regarding the prison for mentally ill and inmates at 60 West Street, Rocky Hill.

1) Can he please clarify and define at what "stage" of life the population in the prison/hospital will be? Both Michael Lawlor and the Governor himself have stated time and again that the population will be at "end of life" but no one has defined that term with definitive wording. Also, Commissioner Rehmer, in public testimony on March 8th, contradicted this assertion by saying "not all the people will be at end of life" (please check the transcription if you would like to verify) Can you please clarify as to who is lying about the "stage" the population will be in? Rehmer, Lawlor??

2) The Governor told a resident on March 6th that he will revisit this issue "face to face" in 6 months and reevaluate. What is he going to do if a tragedy happens before his 6 month review? Is he going to personally guarantee that nothing will happen? Can I have that in writing?

3) How can the Governor, in good conscience, go forward with this project despite the Rocky Hill residents' opposition? The Governor, Michael Lawlor and Commissioner Rehmer are the select few people that think this a great idea. I personally think they are being deliberately obtuse for the sake of money.

4) Michael Lawlor has said that the population in this facility will be prohibited by law to leave the facility. Does that mean they will not be able to go outside on the facility grounds to look into the yards and windows of the homes 50 feet away? If they are prohibited by law to leave, how is that different than a prison? If it were nursing home as the Governor, Lawlor, Rehmer have stated, the population would have the same rights as my grandmother in a nursing home. That means free access to the front door. Please clariy.

The state may save 5 million dollars but at what price? There is no amount of money that can bring back my children if something happens to one of them either at the hands of the inmates, mentally ill amd/or the visitors at the facility. I hope the Governor answers these questions but I am not hopeful.