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    City of New Haven Economic Development

    Growing New Haven's Economy | New Haven News

    Jobs Bill Called Good Job

    (6/7/2010) {from Conntact.com)

    Monday, 07 June 2010 by Felicia Hunter

    The new jobs bill passed by the state legislature and signed into law last month will enable Connecticut to be competitive in the global economy by supporting existing businesses, attracting new ones, and shoring up the statewide workforce to meet specific needs of employers, according to a prominent business leader who helped shape the measure. "Many of the elements of the bill are things people have been working on for many years," says Matthew Nemerson, president and CEO of the East Hartford-based Connecticut Technology Council. He says the legislation reflects an emphasis on businesses as "something we're in a global competition for, that we need to be attractive to and keep."

    The bill was approved May 1. The state Senate passed it unanimously and the House of Representatives by a vote of 140-4. Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed the measure into law May 12.

    Nemerson, a New Haven resident who is a former president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Job Growth Roundtable. Consisting of business leaders, legislators, economists, labor leaders, venture capitalists and academics, the roundtable was charged with providing a report on steps the state should take to stimulate job creation and economic development. House Majority Leader Denise Merrill (D-54) of Mansfield, and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-11) of New Haven, convened the body last fall. Norwalk State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137) was selected to spearhead its jobs-development effort.

    "One of the things we focused on was the need for job development credits for small businesses," says Looney, noting that small businesses sometimes are overlooked when it comes to job-creation tax credits.

    Looney adds that the overwhelming legislative support for the bill is encouraging. "I'm very pleased we were able to pass the law in a bipartisan way," he says.

    Provisions of the legislation include:

    * Up to $500,000 in loans and lines of credit for small businesses and nonprofits

    * Sales tax exemption for renewable energy industries machinery, supplies and fuel

    * A tax credit for businesses hiring new employees who are state residents

    * A loan forgiveness program for state residents graduating from state schools with a bachelor's degree, associate's degree or certification in green technology, life science or health information and technology

    * A credit program for businesses that hire people with disabilities who are receiving state vocational rehabilitation services

    * Short-term programs of study for unemployed residents, to be implemented by community and technical colleges' boards of trustees

    * Redirection of $200 million in insurance industry tax credits to a 10-year program for technology-startup investment

    * Creation of an angel investor program giving tax credits to private investors who support new business ventures

    Connecticut has lost more than 100,000 jobs since 2008, when the recession began, and, as Nemerson says, many jobs are created by "fast-growing businesses looking for the right environment. Part of that [supportive] environment is being able to provide risk capital."

    Making pre-seed capital available is needed for Connecticut to attract emerging, dynamic businesses, says Nemerson.

    "The only way we can have fast -growing companies is to have people take big risks," he says, adding, "To have five successful businesses, you might have 95 unsuccessful businesses." He says 'changes in attitude' regarding the importance of risk capital was a key element of the bill's successful passage.

    In addition to capital, the new law helps businesses by increasing the state's available pool of human resources, says Nemerson. He says Connecticut falls short when it comes to the job skills employers need, and the law addresses that deficit.

    "Community colleges are very important," says Nemerson, "[but] the average student at a community college may be taking four, sometimes four and a half years to get a degree. What businesses are looking at are employees for a summer project or a new project. The short-term workforce initiative [in the law] addresses the idea of certificate programs or quick programs to fill employers' specific, short-term needs," Nemerson says.

    "It has to do with growth opportunity, investment opportunity," he adds. "Part of it is developing skills for new careers, but also skills that match the specific needs of businesses and projects right away."



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