*Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING THE IDENTIFICATION OF EMERGING ECONOMIC TRENDS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee
REASONS FOR BILL:
In an effort to continue to foster startup businesses and develop an entrepreneur community in Connecticut this proposal requires CTNext, a subsidiary of CI, to retain and direct an independent research organization to conduct ongoing strategic planning and generate timely recommendations for specific legislative and programmatic recommendations.
The organization must report quarterly to the board on economic issues or problems that could affect the state's economy or a key industry sector and the extent to which state agencies have implemented any previous recommendations. The organization and the chairperson of CTNext's board must make a comprehensive annual report at a hearing held by the Commerce and Finance committees. The committees must propose legislation to implement any legislative changes the organization recommends.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
GLENDOWLYN THAMES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR-CTNEXT
Ms. Thames testified in support of SB 1058 noting that her organization's legislative charge is to foster entrepreneurship and innovation by providing entrepreneurs and small businesses access to talent, space, industry expertise, services, skill development and capital to foster innovation and create jobs in Connecticut. She goes on to explain that since February 2017, a company called Teconomy has started an analysis of innovation and entrepreneurship in the State of Connecticut. In addition, Teconomy will be assisting CTNext with a strategic plan that will enable CT to better focus and prioritize for maximum impact. Ms. Thames believes that Teconomy's work product will address some of the elements of SB 1058 and of the elements not addressed; some may be within the existing scope of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and/or the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
DR. LYNN BABINGTON, FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY INTERIM PRESIDENT
Dr. Babington testified in support of SB 1058 noting that this bill seeks to, in part, require the CTNext board of directors to issue a request for proposals to enter into an agreement with a private research organization to advise, guide and assist the state in short-term and long-term strategic economic planning. Fairfield University supports this proposal as the university leaders goals are aligned with the economic needs of the state which they feel are addressed in this bill.
SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY
The Sacred Heart University leaders support SB 1058 which seeks to require the state to engage a private research organization to advise, guide and assist in short- and long-term strategic economic planning. The university's testimony notes the recent growth of the school's graduate programs designed to meet the needs of the employer market place. It is Sacred Heart's opinion that It makes more sense for the state to work with the school toward building successful businesses and companies to grow the state's economy rather than imposing a significant tax burden that will only reduce access and opportunity for students in this state.
The Yale University leaders support SB 1058 noting that the proposal would instruct CTNext to arrange for a private research organization to offer advice about “emerging industries in which the state should make strategic investments” and related issues. Yale supports this proposal to secure independent, well-vetted advice to guide state strategy.
JENNIFER WIDNESS, PRESIDENT- CT CONFERENCE OF INDEPENDENT COLLEGES
Ms. Widness testified in support of this bill noting that this proposal would allow for a broader, more systemic approach to leverage all of the assets the state has to offer which would be incredibly beneficial and productive. The independent colleges want to be considered part of the solution and welcomes the opportunity for more collaboration and stronger partnerships across the state to help grow the economy.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
LORI J. PELLETIER, PRESIDENT, CONNECTICUT AFL-CIO
Ms. Pelletier testified in opposition to SB 1058 noting that the bill would allow CTNext to hire a private research organization to advise, guide, and assist the state in strategic economic planning by identifying emerging industries, recommending policy to meet workforce needs and other related functions. AFL-CIO believes that these are core functions of DECD and that it's reasonable to expect DECD, alone or collaboration with the Department of Labor, State Department of Education, Board of Regents and other relevant agencies, to achieve the objectives stated in this bill. If further research is required, the state would be wise to call on the dozens of economists already employed by the state's education institutions.
JAMES RITCHIE & NANCY VARKAL
Both testified in opposition to SB 1058 in addition to a number of other Finance bills. Their testimony notes that Connecticut has a spending problem and raising taxes is not the solution. They both go on to explain that it is their opinion that this state has to stop spending and cutting programs until the state is spending less that what the revenue is generating. They also believe that the state is losing its population to other states that have gotten their spending under control.
Reported by: Jason Snukis