Ned Lamont said it, but all six candidates for governor sharing the stage shared the sentiment.
"Fundamentally," Lamont said, "this is a state that is dead last in job creation, dead last over the last 20 years."
The issue for voters and the audience of businesspeople at the Thursday afternoon forum, organized by a group called Jobs for Connecticut Now, is which candidate will spur employment.
The Democrats criticized state government policies they say have driven up costs unreasonably for employers.
"We can't afford to pay a 76 percent premium on the cost of electricity over the national average," Dan Malloy said. "I believe it's the single largest reason that we've lost more manufacturing jobs in this state than any other state in New England or the Midatlantic."
"We've been throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at big businesses," said Lamont, "trying to attract them, get them across the border, and we're killing small businesses in this state."
Republicans preferred to criticize the Legislature, dominated by Democrats, than the governor's office, Republican since 1995.
"I would use my veto pen, my little red veto pen that I walk around with," Lieut. Gov. Michael Fedele said, "and I would make sure that any legislation that was anti-business and that was passed by the legislature, would go back."
"You'd think that Connecticut was radioactive for employers," said Tom Foley, "at the rate at which people want to move out of this state, and the lack of people moving in."