Contact: Kevin Coughlin
January 24, 2012
MANCHESTER—Senate Democrats held a news conference today on the shop floor of AdChem Manufacturing Technologies in Manchester—just two weeks before the start of the 2012 legislative session—to announce their new, 5-point jobs plan that will help local, small businesses protect and grow jobs and boost Connecticut’s economy.
Citing job growth as the top priority for Senate Democrats this year, Democratic senators detailed their plans to build on the momentum created by the comprehensive and far-reaching jobs bill passed during October’s special session. One of their new proposals expands existing state business loans and grants to an additional 2,600 local companies.
“As Connecticut continues its economic recovery, the legislature must continue its focus on growing jobs, helping businesses expand and assisting people who have lost a job find permanent, new employment,” said Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn). “By significantly expanding our Small Business Express Program, we can build on the solid foundation of the October jobs bill and continue to put Connecticut residents back to work.”
“Our number one priority this legislative session is putting people back to work and helping Connecticut businesses create good jobs,” said Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “The October jobs bill was a historic first step. Now we will build on that progress and improve programs already in place to expand employment opportunities for combat veterans and promote and grow Connecticut industry.”
The Senate Democrats’ 5-point jobs plan includes:
Members of the Senate Democratic caucus joined Mr. Polo and caucus leaders on AdChem’s shop floor today to voice their support for the new jobs package.
“The doomsday predictions that manufacturing is dead in Connecticut are way off-base. All you have to do is look at the recent growth in small manufacturers like AdChem to see that. There is long-term stability there,” said state Sen. Steve Cassano (D-Manchester), whose Senate district includes AdChem. “Expanding the state’s Small Business Express Program from 50 to 100 employees is not only going to expand the base of potential applicants, it’s going to help firms like AdChem who are ready to undertake that next, big expansion if the state is there to support them.”
“There are many manufacturers here in Connecticut that would like to avail themselves of the opportunity to grow using our Small Business Express Program, but they cannot because of the 50-employee cap. Yet, they still want to and need to grow,” said state Sen. Gary D. LeBeau (D-East Hartford), who is Senate Chairman of the Commerce Committee. “Expanding this program to manufacturers up to 100 employees will help them grow and will really hit the sweet spot among state manufacturers.”
“Growing Connecticut jobs and helping manufacturers fill and retain those jobs is what we’re all about,” said state Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who is Senate Chairman of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. “Each of these proposals does its part to move Connecticut toward our goal of more jobs and more economic activity, particularly among the small manufacturers who are the backbone of our economy and the future for much of our workforce.”
“Job creation remains our top legislative priority this year, and especially jobs for veterans, who have a much higher unemployment rate than the general population. In Connecticut, 15.5 percent of post 9/11 veterans are unemployed. We must do better for those who fought for our freedom, and our proposed expansion of the STEP Up program will help many veterans to find work. They fought valiantly for our country, they should not have to fight for jobs back home,” said Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford), Senate Chair of the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
“More jobs are needed all across Connecticut, but especially in our urban centers, where unemployment is highest. Last year's STEP Up program was designed to help urban small businesses hire new employees. It was a good start, and I am optimistic that we can do more this year,” said Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport).
“Connecticut's unemployment rate continues to fall, which shows that our previous bipartisan jobs efforts are working—but we must do more. This session we can expand our existing job creation programs to include more small businesses, promote local Connecticut Made products, and help our unemployed veterans find good paying jobs,” said Senator Anthony Musto (D-Trumball).
“Job creation is our top priority, and we made a lot of progress in the October Jobs Bill. Business leaders are calling it the best legislative effort in the last 30 years. This session, we will build on that success and do even more to help Connecticut’s small businesses,” said state Sen. Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington).
That October jobs bill (Public Act 11-1), which passed the General Assembly on an overwhelming and bipartisan 181-2 vote, includes:
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