The state’s top business leaders are working to put Connecticut on a path to better economic growth.
A new commission appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy and legislative leaders met for the first time Friday in Hartford.
Lawmakers created the 14-member Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth as part of their state budget.
"I worry this generation will be the first generation in American history to have less opportunity than their parents’ generation," Greg Butler, a commission member from Eversource Energy’s General Counsel, said.
Over the next two and half months, the private sector leaders will come up with strategies to stabilize the state’s finances and create a better business climate.
“In a business, you’re able to make these decisions and you don’t have as many constituents, so this is going to be very challenging because you have very smart people on both sides of the aisle trying to do good work,” commission member Cindi Bigelow said.
Bigelow is the third generation president and CEO of family-owned Bigelow Tea based in Fairfield.
"We have been able to hire a lot of great talent because of the quality of living in the state," Bigelow said. "But recently we are starting to see people that are little concerned coming into Connecticut working for us because of the taxes."
This newly formed commission will make recommendations to the governor and lawmakers on taxes, spending, debt and other administrative issues.
"We will invest in this state and we will create jobs, but we have to have a stable fiscal environment and once we establish that the ability to grow is there," Jim Loree, a commission member and CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, said.
Malloy would like the group to focus on funding for transportation work, having warned last week that the state needs a billion dollars in new revenue over five years or else projects could halt and bus and rail fares could go up.
"We need new revenue sources that will be there to fund the next generation of transportation infrastructure in Connecticut and those funds should be protected by an unbreakable constitutional lockbox," Malloy told the commission during his opening remarks.
The commission will hold several public hearings before submitting its recommendations on March 1. The General Assembly has made a commitment to vote on those recommendations.
"The governor is right transportation and infrastructure is also a big deal," Loree said.