Connecticut business owners’ faith in their state lawmakers has dropped to an all-time low, says a new survey that found only 11 percent of businesses expect the state’s economy to grow next year.
Results of the 2019 Survey of Connecticut Businesses by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) revealed that though 73 percent of businesses anticipate the national economy to continue to grow in the year ahead, only 11 percent expect the same for Connecticut’s economy.
In this year’s survey, 92 percent of participants either somewhat or strongly disapproved of Connecticut lawmakers’ performance on jobs and the economy, an increase from 81 percent in 2018.
#Business, #smallbiz confidence in state legislature’s handling of job creation, #cteconomy fell to an all-time low. 94% believe lawmakers focus too heavily on workplace mandates rather than prioritizing the economy, jobs. pic.twitter.com/mZ5u6BgaF5
— CBIA (@CBIANews) September 6, 2019
The survey noted that while 70 percent of Connecticut companies reported profits in 2018, they have serious concerns about their future in the Democrat-led state.
“While Connecticut businesses are finding ways to survive and grow, their concerns for the future are clearly apparent in this survey,” Joseph F. Brennan, president and CEO of the CBIA, said Friday, reported CT Mirror.
“Job growth in the state has not matched the region and the rest of the country, yet Connecticut employers, particularly manufacturers, cannot find enough skilled workers to offset retirements and meet demand,” explained CBIA in the survey introduction.
The survey was taken after the Connecticut General Assembly passed two more workplace mandates: paid family and medical leave and the $15 per hour minimum wage.
“[S]mall businesses were particularly rankled by the legislative session,” said CBIA. “Generally speaking, smaller employers feel unfairly targeted by those two mandates, which are expected to further increase business costs in the state.”
Under the new paid family medical leave law, benefits will pay out up to 12 weeks of replacement wages with a cap of $900 per week. The program is slated to become available in January 2022 and is funded with a payroll tax of one-half of one percent on all who work in the state.
As CT Mirror reported, critics of the paid family medical leave program say it incentivizes workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year, whether for their own personal illness or to take time to care for any person considered to be family.
Nevertheless, Max Reiss, communications director for Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont, said the new laws will help Connecticut remain competitive with other states.
“The governor was proud to sign them into law,” Reiss said.
Additionally, CBIA noted business owners are not hopeful after state lawmakers passed a two-year budget that – rather than cut spending to close a multi-billion-dollar deficit – relied almost entirely on tax and fee increases.
The gloom over Connecticut’s future for business and industry showed itself in the survey result that only 23 percent of companies in the state expect to add workers.
“Retaining and hiring younger workers remains a big challenge for most employers,” CBIA stated.