September 6, 2013

Business attitudes on CT hit 12-year low

A state's largest trade association has uncovered that business executives' attitudes toward Connecticut are the most negative they've been in 12 years.

In the 12th annual survey of businesses by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) and BlumShapiro released today, 80 percent of the 377 companies who responded had a negative or somewhat negative opinion of Connecticut as a place to do business. Only 11 percent said the state was a somewhat or very positive place to do business. Only 32 percent said the state's skilled workforce was a key asset.

It was the lowest reading the CBIA survey has uncovered since it began in 2001. The report attributed the down attitude in part to the 2011 increase in the personal income tax.

The association's report urged lawmakers to consider reductions in state spending, an easing of tax and regulatory burdens and more tax incentives for small businesses.

It also revealed that one-third of the businesses had been approached by representatives of another state about moving or expanding elsewhere in the last five years. More than half of manufacturers, which were disproportionately represented in the survey (35 percent of respondents), said they had been approached over that period.

The survey wasn't all bad news. Forty-three percent of businesses said they plan to or have already hired additional full-time staff this year, while 47 percent anticipate doing so in 2014.

"Despite the overall negative sentiment about the economy expressed in this year's survey, Connecticut companies continue to invest in their employees and infrastructure while bringing new products and services to market," Tom DeVitto, chief marketing officer for BlumShapiro, said in a statement. "It's imperative that we create the proper business climate in order for these companies to thrive and profit in Connecticut."

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