‘Connecticut Economy’ Report Takes Some Sting Out of Malloy Critics

As 2014 Connecticut gubernatorial race approaches, voters can count on Republicans making the alleged mishandling of the state economy and the lack of job growth major issues as they seek to take on incumbent Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy. However, a new report from a well-respected source may take some of the bite out those arguments or at the very least, provide Malloy with some political cover.

The University of Connecticut’s quarterly economic journal the Connecticut Economy blames Washington, DC for the state’s troubles in recovering from the Great Recession. The publication’s authors contend “economic shocks” and political gridlock are responsible for delaying the state’s rebound by about a year. The journal’s executive editor Steven Lanza presented the winter edition Tuesday and said, “You could say we’ve lost a year of recovery because of the artificial uncertainty that’s been injected into the economy.”

Of course being economists, the report was accompanied by impressive charts and graphs making its case. But this edition may be more significant because of the timing. Although Malloy has not yet announced he will seek reelection, it’s the worst-kept secret in the state that he will. He has at least three top-tier Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to challenge him: 2010 nominee and former Bush administration ambassador Tom Foley, state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and Danbury Mayor (and 2010 nominee for lieutenant governor) Mark Boughton. State Sen. Toni Boucher and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti are also considering bids.

Despite recent attention to Malloy and the state Democratic Party’s fundraising efforts, the GOP’s eventual nominee will likely make the state’s economy and lackluster job growth the central argument as to why voters should not return Malloy to office.

The Connecticut Economy makes it a bit more difficult to do that. The publication is basically saying the administration is doing the best with what it has to work with and that a good part of the problem is out of Malloy’s hands. The report certainly won’t stop critics from attacking Malloy on the economy but they have to try to find a way to do it without trashing UConn’s signature economic forecasting and analytical outlet.