Connecticut has received some bad economic news in recent weeks; job losses, being ranked the eighth worst state for business by Forbes, declining tax revenues and on Friday the confirmation from StubHub that they will be closing their call center in East Granby and consolidating operations in Utah, a move that was announced earlier this year. It is always difficult to hear when companies choose to leave our state and expand elsewhere.
This past session I was proud to co-introduce an industry specific bill to help secondary ticket sellers like StubHub and TicketNetwork. This legislation, HB 7114 ‘An Act Concerning the Sale of Entertainment Event Tickets on the Secondary Market’ protects both consumers and secondary ticket sellers, and passed with bipartisan support. Stubhub has been a good corporate citizen as well as being one of the largest employers in our district – and along with TicketNetwork in South Windsor was part of a growing ecosystem of secondary ticket sellers in our region. StubHub does more than just sell tickets – it has been at the forefront of this growing industry – leading the way by investing in new technologies. StubHub employed many young people in a productive yet fun environment and supported many of our local businesses and restaurants. I am saddened by their choice to leave our district and the lost opportunities that will go with them.
I frequently meet with employers in our district, and I consistently hear two major concerns: the high cost of doing business in Connecticut, and attracting good new employees – many of whom cannot afford to live in our state. Companies make decisions about relocating and consolidating on the margins, comparing the advantages of different states, lately Connecticut has been losing out.
When companies and industries choose to expand or consolidate, we want them to consolidate their operations here. Connecticut can have a bright future, but we need to make some significant changes. For example, we need to continue improving the connections between our community college system with local employers. These colleges are a lower cost option for young people looking to enter the work place and a prime opportunity for employers to recruit younger workers. We also need to make living here more affordable – for all ages. Connecticut ranks #2 in the nation for college graduates who live with their parents. While this is may be a good temporary option, we need to lower – or at least moderate – the overall cost of living here, which includes taxes and utilities.
Equally important, we need to get our state’s finances in order and make long term changes to reduce our unfunded liabilities. Companies look for stability and take potential tax increases into consideration when choosing where to move or expand.
I will continue listening to our local employers and fighting for reforms. Even small changes can go a long way to improving our state’s business image.