CAN PFIZER LAYOFFS BE LAID RIGHT AT THE FEAT OF FORMER GOV. RELL?

News that Pfizer is laying off 1,100 workers at its Groton operation is a kick in the gut to a state that continues to reel from job losses and a 9-percent unemployment rate. How could this possibly happen? The question is best asked of former Gov. Rell and her economic development commissioners.

Gov. Dannel Malloy is said to have heard about the lay-offs Monday night. Malloy has been in office less than a month. This kind of decision by a corporate giant is not made overnight and clearly has been in the making for quite a long time. Where were the state officials responsible for keeping an eye on such things?

Malloy reacted as expected saying it’s “terrible news.” The jobs in question are in research and are being shifted to Cambridge, Massachusetts—not all that far away. It’s unclear whether any Groton workers would be offered jobs in Cambridge. Malloy says he needs to “follow-up” on that.

State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney says the lay-offs show Connecticut is not business-friendly. He wants Gov. Malloy to persuade legislative leaders to abandon what McKinney says are anti-business bills being considered this legislative session.

McKinney’s statement says, in part:
“We owe it to those families impacted by these layoffs…to make Connecticut business friendly, turn our economy around immediately, and get our people back to work.

“Recently Governor Malloy announced to all that ‘Connecticut is open for business,’ yet Democratic leaders in Hartford are simultaneously preparing to consider a number of job-killing bills, including paid sick leave and captive audience. In spite of the fact that unemployment continues to remain at its highest level in decades, residential foreclosures continue to climb and businesses continue to close in record numbers, legislative leaders of the Governor’s party still fail to recognize the consequences of their actions…We hope Governor Malloy will ask the legislative leaders of his party to pull these anti-business bills, and then we can all sit down and work on turning our economy around.”

State Senate President Don Williams responded to McKinney not by addressing the lay off by saying if the Republicans want to help make the state business-friendly, they should support the majority party’s energy bill, Senate Bill No. 1. “Political attacks won’t create jobs, but lowering energy prices will. We know high energy costs are driving Connecticut companies out of state,” Williams said.

“That’s why Democrats passed a landmark energy reform bill last year that would have reduced rates by 10-percent. Unfortunately, the special interests convinced legislative Republicans to vote against it and Gov. Rell to ultimately veto it. This year energy reform is Senate Bill #1 and we hope Republicans finally join us and Gov. Malloy to help provide relief to businesses across Connecticut,” he said.

McKinney and Williams are both right. The state is seen as not particularly friendly to business and measures to change that are being considered right now. However, economic development agencies are under the purview of the executive branch—the governor. The Shad doesn’t care about her approval ratings. This devastating blow to 1,100 workers and their families can be laid right at the feet of “M. Jodi Moody.” The hangover continues.