Connecticut’s budget woes, taxes make it prime target for pro-biz governors like Rick Scott


Connecticut’s chronic budget problems and notorious tax increases have made the state a prime target for Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott and others trying to lure away corporations and other job-creators.

Scott recently offered Yale University a chance to relocate after Connecticut’s Democrat-controlled General Assembly proposed taxing the school’s $25.6 billion endowment to cut a budget deficit.

And last summer, he traveled to Connecticut to try to lure businesses — after Aetna, General Electric and Travelers publicly griped about millions in proposed taxes increases that Gov. Dan Malloy and fellow Democrats in the state legislature wanted in an upcoming budget.

Not surprisingly, considering Yale’s 300-year history with the city of New Haven, the Ivy League bastion last week politely declined Scott’s offer.

Still, General Electric earlier this year took a better offer from Boston to move its headquarters and its 800 jobs to the city’s revived Seaport District — a devastating economic hit to its current home in affluent Fairfield County — even after Malloy hastily signed a revised budget proposal that cut roughly $179 million from $1.5 billion in proposed tax increases in the original two-year budget. 

yale_small Connecticut's budget woes, taxes make it prime target for pro-biz governors like Rick Scott

But Connecticut’s persistent budget problems continue to make it a target for pro-business governors like Scott.

The state Assembly last week had to close a projected $220 million budget shortfall with a host of one-time, stop-gap measures. And similar budget deficits are projected for the new budget that begins in July.

Scott said Monday he intends to continue going to states whose policies “have an adverse impact on businesses,” with an eye now on Pennsylvania.

“You have to go talk to people,” Scott, a former businessman, told “This is no different than when I ran a big company… The answer was always ‘no’ before I called.”

Scott, who was raised in poverty, said he’s trying to attract new businesses with lower taxes and fewer regulations. And his 2010 campaign was based on a promise to provide residents with better jobs and educational opportunities as well as a safer way of life.  

The governor since taking office in 2011 has made pitches in Connecticut, California and Kentucky, according to his office.

He has successfully brought several businesses into the state over roughly the past five and half years, including a new United Technology facility that created 380 jobs in the Palm Beach area. And on Monday, Scott announced that stone and granite manufacturer Granex has opened a new, $9 million processing facility in Tampa.  

His willingness to make sales calls in Connecticut and elsewhere appears to have raised Malloy’s ire.

“Has Gov. Scott sent out a press release claiming to recruit companies from North Carolina after its Republican governor just signed a discriminatory, anti-gay law?” the governor’s office recently told the Orlando Sentinel. “Or is this more about partisan politics than anything else?”

Malloy’s office did not respond to a request for comment from, but his administration has launched a radio campaign in the Connecticut, New York and New Jersey region promoting the benefits of doing business in the state. 

This is not the first time a Republican governor has tried to lure businesses away from a state with budget problems and high taxes.

Then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry tried in 2013 to entice California entrepreneurs and other business owners by promising better economic opportunities — and with a campaign like Scott’s in Connecticut that included radio ads.

Perry’s foray followed residents approving Proposition 30, which increased California’s sales and income taxes for the state’s highest earners.

And then-Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and then-Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell competed against each other several years ago to bring new businesses into their respective states.

Both made trips in 2012 to India to seek new business opportunities, and McDonnell managed to lure from Maryland construction and engineering giant Bechtel.