Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

November 23, 2015 OTHER VOICES

Time for public-private partnerships to drive CT’s economic growth, development

Oz Griebel

Vibrant metro areas like Atlanta and Oklahoma City sustain their enviable economic success on public-private partnerships that include the governor, municipal leaders and CEOs of major private-sector employers. These partnerships all have one overriding mission: To drive economic and employment growth that provides a premier quality of life for all residents and that funds critical public investment and services. 

With Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's call for bipartisan discussions to address Connecticut's significant fiscal challenges and the election of a new mayor of Hartford, we have the impetus to establish equally effective partnerships for the state and for the city.  Such partnerships will allow us to address immediate fiscal issues equitably while creating the political will needed to implement the structural, indeed radical, changes required to put the state and the region on a path of robust and sustainable growth. 

At a time when every state faces economic volatility, underfunded retiree pension and healthcare benefits and growing municipal deficits, Connecticut's greatest advantage lies in the powerful combination of private sector and government leaders working imaginatively and collaboratively to fix our state's finances and to restore private-sector confidence. A private sector that can depend on stable public budgets and predictable tax policies will generate the critical employment opportunities for residents of all ages.

Connecticut's fiscal challenges have grown steadily in a bipartisan manner over the past two decades, and correcting them will require sustained collaboration and innovation.  Merely repeating rigid historical approaches to economic growth and the delivery of public services will guarantee further decline in population, anemic income growth, and the absence of meaningful employment opportunities thereby undermining Connecticut residents' quality of life. 

Politics is, however, the art of the possible. In that spirit and in response to Gov. Malloy's request for specific ideas, we recently sent a letter to Malloy and the legislature (which can be found at outlining seven concepts to serve as the immediate agenda for the proposed partnerships and for adoption in the 2016 legislative session:

• Adopt a tightly-drafted constitutional amendment for voter ratification in Nov. 2016 that ensures that transportation funds are used for transportation projects and that clarifies the 1991 spending cap amendment to strengthen its intent and ensure access to federal dollars;

• Using Enterprise Florida and the Connecticut Airport Authority as models, establish the Department of Economic and Community Development as a private-public entity to drive our economic development strategy and our initiatives to retain and recruit private-sector employers;

• Develop a comprehensive strategy to exploit our unique inventory of financial services and healthcare assets to drive employment and per-capita income growth;

• Develop partnerships with our health insurers and providers to address the exponential growth in the Medicaid population that drives rocketing increases in uncompensated care and the transfer of that cost to employers providing coverage for their professionals;

•  Incentivize regional collaboration for the delivery of municipal services by ensuring that each municipality receives 90 percent of its FY 2016 allocation in FY 2017 with the Office of Policy and Management retaining the remaining 10 percent and the authority to provide those dollars to the relevant council of governments for such delivery;

• Address the issue of underfunded PILOT payments via the state entering into sale-leaseback agreements on office buildings that it owns to increase cities' grand lists and thereby reduce mill rates that currently eliminate unsubsidized private investment; and

• Leverage the Boston College study of the state pension system to address the unfunded components of that system and the related retiree healthcare benefits, to reduce the percentage of each budget allocated to such obligations, and to reestablish realistic criteria regarding annual returns on portfolio investments, work rules, spiking options, age and years of service for collecting benefits, cost-of-living adjustments, and the option of offering lump-sum payments to retirees.

This is a watershed moment in Connecticut's fiscal and economic history that demands the full collaboration and engagement of the best and brightest in government and the private sector.  By building and sustaining dynamic public-private partnerships based on candor and innovation, we will reverse the downward spiral of the last decade.  More importantly, we will honor our joint fiduciary obligation to ensure that Connecticut competes aggressively and successfully for jobs, capital and talent, the foundation of genuine opportunity for a premier quality of life for all residents today and for generations to come.n

Oz Griebel is president and CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance

Read more

Access to banking key to Hartford’s north-end revival

International Recruitment: CT Innovations looks beyond U.S. for investments

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF