COURANT: UTC SAYS ANYWHERE BUT CT FOR BUSINESS

The Hartford Courant yesterday afternoon posted a story on their website about a conference in New York City at which United Technology Corporation (UTC) officials told other Wall Street big shots that “Anyplace outside of Connecticut is low-cost [to do business].” Officials told the conference UTC is determined to move more of its operations outside its home state and other high-cost locations.

Politicians and candidates seized the opportunity to call for more business-friendly legislation to draw business to the state. A statement from Governor Rell’s office: “The comments by the UTC executives today reinforce Governor Rell’s message that we must improve our business climate,” the statement said. “More taxes, more mandates and more costs for employers are not the answers. Given the current budget deficit, the legislature needs to make some tough choices – but it cannot do so at the expense of our businesses and our employers. We need to cut spending and hold the line on taxes…it’s really that simple.”

Of course it was the governor who just a couple of years ago, proposed raising the income tax across the board to pay for improved education (a bold idea she abandoned after harsh criticism from her own party). She also eliminated the position of Business Advocate created by the legislature, to save money.
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The legislature’s transportation will vote Monday on a controversial bill that would require seat belts on all school buses in the state. Such bills have been raised in the past but the catalyst this time around is the tragic death of a 16-year old Rock Hill boy in a school bus crash off I-84 back in January. The bill under consideration is sponsored by committee co-chairman Tony Guerrera of Rocky Hill.

The bill is opposed by groups such as the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and the Connecticut School Transportation Association. Their concerns include the high costs of fitting buses with seat belts and who is going to pay for it, possibly taking funds from already stressed school budgets.