Hartford – Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and State Senator Tony Hwang, who represents the town of Fairfield, released the following statements regarding reports that General Electric has decided to move its headquarters to Boston. This move comes after GE raised concerns about the direction Connecticut leaders were taking the state during the 2015 legislative session which included the passage of the second largest tax hike in state history. This prompted General Electric Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt to consider moving because GE wanted to be some place “where people support job creation, where it’s attractive to talent, good cost of living and that is very supportive in terms of what a high-tech exporter has to be all about. It is a global battle that we are in and we need people that are on our side,” said Immelt in September.
“This news is devastating for thousands of employees, their families, and the entire Fairfield community,” said Senator Fasano (R-North Haven).
“I know our community is strong,” said Senator Hwang (R-Fairfield). “I know we will all work hard with one another to build back what we are losing. I know we will come together to support the employees losing their jobs, the local companies that will lose business, and the many nonprofits and community organizations that benefited from having GE’s headquarters as a major philanthropic force in our town. GE is an incredible economic driver, and the jobs that do remain here will continue to benefit our community and support many families. I plan to work closely with all lawmakers as well as state and local leaders to ensure Connecticut is taking the steps we need to grow jobs, support the community, and create an environment where businesses want to move in, not out.”
People Deserve Apologies & Action
“The people of Connecticut deserve an apology,” said Fasano, “They deserve an apology from every Democrat lawmaker whose disrespectful comments mocked companies like GE when they raised legitimate concerns about the state budget. These same Democrats then had to backtrack, after they forced legislation upon companies without listening to them or even having a conversation about their perspective.
“They deserve an apology from every elected state leader who blamed critics for ‘rooting for failure,’ ‘perpetuating hyperbole,’ and spewing ‘static’ and ‘bologna’ when people rightfully warned about the disastrous impact of repeated tax increases and perpetual state deficits.
“They deserve an apology from Hartford Democrats who had blinders on when they celebrated a budget they were ‘proud of,’ a budget they called ‘historic’ and ‘transformative’ when in actuality it did nothing to change the trajectory of the state.
“They deserve an apology from those who accused GE of ‘fear-mongering’ and blaming Connecticut policies for their own corporate decisions.
“Even more than apologies, our state deserves action. I hope that if any good can come from this situation, Democrats can now find the courage to change. GE made their decision because they, like so many other employers and state residents, are sick and tired of the unpredictability of Connecticut’s financial health, and how that volatility translates to knee jerk tax hikes and damaging service cuts. Years of one party rule and Democrat policies have created an environment that lacks stability and predictability. That uncertainty leaves people wondering: where will leaders go next to find the money to fix future budget holes? Who wants to invest in a state if they can’t be certain they won’t be the next group squeezed in tough times?” Fasano said.
Hwang added: “Democrat leaders created a fire by ignoring the negative impact of their policies over the last 5 years. They stoked the flames this year when they passed the second largest tax increase in state history. While some business tax changes were eventually made to the budget, it was like throwing a cup of water on a house fire. The only way to move forward is to make serious changes to the way our state budgets. If we want to send a positive message to job creators, then we need long-term structural changes. This year’s budget was not transformative, and the legislation passed in special session did nothing to make long-term structural changes to the way our state spends its money. GE shows us more clearly now than ever that change is needed. Democrats can no longer be afraid to change.”
Additional Background on GE’s Decision
On June 1, 2015 GE announced that the Democrat’s budget gave them cause to consider moving out of state. A statement from the company read: “Reports that Connecticut officials intend to raise taxes by another $750 million are truly discouraging…Retroactively raising taxes again on Connecticut’s residents, businesses and services makes businesses, including our own, and citizens seriously consider whether it makes any sense to continue to be located in this state.”
In November, Immelt further articulated why GE was considering the move. In a speech given to the Business Council of Fairfield County Immelt said: “We’re a company that … doesn’t look for special deals, but we need an ecosystem that’s forward-looking, that’s future-looking, that’s willing to fight hard to be competitive and enduring for the future. We don’t want that just for GE — we want that for everybody that’s in this room.”