June 27, 2016

It's back to the lobbying board for CT manufacturers

PHOTO | HBJ File
PHOTO | HBJ File
Hannah Lenoce is an apprentice toolmaker at Cheshire's Marion Manufacturing Co., which Doug Johnson (left) owns.

Shock and dismay can't begin to describe the reaction that Connecticut's manufacturing sector feels about lawmakers' failed attempt to override Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's veto of a measure that would have allowed them to use tax credits to fund training of the next-generation of factory workers.

Last week, the state House of Representatives called the bill to allow use of tax credits to fund manufacturing apprenticeships for a veto override, which passed 114-2, but the Senate failed to act on the measure.

Specifically, the bill would have extended the $7,500 manufacturing apprenticeship tax credit to pass-through entities, allowing their owners and partners to claim the credit against their personal income taxes.

The goal of the tax credit, its backers have said, was to help Connecticut manufacturers train more hands to fill a workforce shortage being felt nationwide.

Malloy vetoed the measure citing cost concerns, including the estimated revenue loss to the state of about $100,000 starting in fiscal 2018.

Douglas Johnson, owner of Marion Manufacturing Co. in Cheshire, who sits on the boards of several key state and regional manufacturing and business lobbies, including the Smaller Manufacturers of Connecticut and Connecticut Business & Industry Association, was particularly vocal.

"The largest disappointment,'' Johnson said via email, "is that we have fought hard for the last four years to level the playing field for smaller manufacturers by sponsoring and supporting new legislation, testifying in Hartford about the benefits of the tax credit and our training programs, and holding open-house events across the state so our local legislators can see what we manufacturers see and understand our needs first hand. But each of the past four years the legislators have found a way to kill our repeated efforts.''

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