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Hey government and politicians, If you haven’t noticed – it’s all about jobs!

Last week I was asked to participate on a panel of “industrial real estate experts”. The effort was to give our audience a “state of the state” type of overview for the CT and Western MA region. I have been on a number of these panels in the last 30 months and, just like the previous panels, the picture wasn’t pretty! All of us talking about rising vacancy rates, falling sale prices and lease rates, varying opinions of what relief was in sight, how the state needs to become more competitive. While everyone on the panel did a nice job, it was pretty much the same ole stuff.

So here’ the unabridged version of my thoughts…

Government…Politicians…WAKE UP! Experts on panel after panel after panel are talking about the sad state of affairs in this state. Are you listening? The fact is (and BTW, this is the way it’s been for a long time…it’s not just “due to the recession”)…CT is expensive. CT is NOT business friendly (i.e. our ATTITUDE  toward business is depressing)! You tell us that you want business expansion and you want new businesses to come to the state, but everything you DO says otherwise!

Politicians…stop telling us that CT needs new jobs and industry…that we need to lower the cost of doing business…that we want to be “business friendly” (“tell me something I don’t know”)! START telling us HOW you are going to do it! Stop “talking the talk” and start “walking the walk”. Because all of us “experts” can tell you about a number of growing companies that are ready to “walk the walk”…right OUT of this state!

My guess is that we will never be the “low cost provider”. Then what are we? Just in the last week we saw a company that was supposed to be an example of what CT is all about…LEAVE THE STATE! Yes, PaperG is headed to California (not exactly a “low cost provider” itself). In fairness we also attracted a company, EpiEP (nice job CT Innovations!), but we can’t afford to trade wins and losses!

Suggestion…At worst, you made this state the most expensive state in the country. At best you’ve spent the last number of years “saving” jobs at companies that are headed out of this state in the not-too-distant future anyway!! That’s what I call throwing good money after bad. Why “good money after bad”? While these are political wins, there aren’t any financial packages you can throw at certain companies that will cure their issues operating in the state LONG TERM (unless you DRASTICALLY reduce the cost of doing business here…LONG TERM)!

So unless you are ready to make us the “low cost provider”, why not stop CHASING the “old economy” and start paying attention to and start CHASING the “new economy”? Why not start thinking “outside the box” rather than thinking the same ole way that got us in this mess in the first place? How are we addressing the mobile workforce? The companies with great technology but less than 10 employees (not just those companies that need working capital)? The medium sized employers that have emerging technologies that are looking to grow right now? Etc. etc. etc.

Please…we are begging for leadership in this state (at a bunch of levels). Would someone please step up! Stop talking about “baseball and apple pie” and start talking specifics! Preferably refreshingly, specific, NEW ideas!


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