Aetna Announcement Shows CT Has to Fix Budget: Consultant

John Boyd makes his living by consulting companies on where is best for them to move and conduct business.

He surveys cities and states all the time and says the conclusions about Connecticut are harsh.

“Connecticut is actually one of the least attractive states to do business in quite frankly," he said.

Aetna announcing it would likely move its headquarters out of Hartford, Boyd said, shouldn't have come as a surprise.

He's consulted Chevron, Boeing, and Pepsico, and in Connecticut he currently provides guidance on site selection to Pratt & Whitney and Pitney Bowes.

The consultant said ever since General Electric announced it would leave Fairfield, the state's finances have been under the microscope and when anyone from the outside looking in has taken a close look, they've seen trouble.

“Lawmakers need to get the fiscal house in order here," Boyd said during an interview in Farmington. "Lawmakers need to cut taxes and cut spending and do what successful states do. There’s a common denominator among states that are attracting industry and these are states that cutting taxes and holding the line on spending.”

Despite all of the bad news, Boyd maintains that Connecticut has qualities other states and cities could only wish for in some instances.

He says Connecticut is well-known for its highly skilled, educated workforce and the state's high quality of life.

As far as infrastructure goes, he said Bradley Airport may in fact be the most critical asset the state has in recruiting industry.

"The second most trafficked airport in New England is Bradley with nonstop flights to major and domestic markets. That’s something companies look for with not only a corporate headquarters, but also a regional headquarters," Boyd said. 

Boyd said the news of Aetna moving its headquarters should act a key moment for the state and for the region. He said Hartford has potential but the right people need to harness it across both local and state lines.

“That’s an asset Hartford has. It is a millennial friendly, walkable town, unlike other suburban markets that are struggling today so the pieces are there with the right approach, the right leadership, some tweaks in policy to really I think absorb this loss and use it as a positive.”

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