Democrats unveil wish list for 2014
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 Jan 15, 2014
HARTFORD -- Majority Democrats on Tuesday promised to replenish funding for popular job-training programs as a centerpiece of their 2014 legislative agenda.
They want a new effort to recruit high school graduates from the state's vocational-technical schools into the state's workforce.
They also plan more funding to expand enterprise zones and decontaminate brownfields to help foster economic growth while addressing the environmental mess left by now-outdated manufacturing industries.
Also among their major priorities is the creation of a port authority to develop Connecticut's harbors in Bridgeport, New Haven and New London. A similar proposal failed last year.
Republicans, criticizing Democrats for making Connecticut inhospitable to business with record-high taxes and expensive mandates, such as paid sick leave, called the agenda an election-year tactic.
During a morning news conference in the Capitol, about 20 Democratic lawmakers joined House and Senate leaders who said the $20 million "Step-Up" program, giving subsidies to businesses that hire entry-level workers, was so popular that it needs more money.
Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, said the "Step-Up" funding was first approved during the largely bipartisan special legislative session in the fall of 2011 and he doesn't see why it can't continue. Democrats have a 98-53 majority in the House and a 22-14 Senate edge.
"We don't have gridlock in Connecticut," Williams said. "In Connecticut, we get things done. We work with Republicans. We have succeeded in the past, and we're going to continue to move Connecticut forward in 2014."
Williams, Speaker of the House J. Brendan Sharkey, Senate Majority Leader Martin J. Looney and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz said they will also introduce legislation that would help businesses more quickly advance development plans for targeted locations.
A measure targeting patent trolling would reduce nuisance lawsuits from companies that falsely claim the development of patented products.
Sharkey, D-Hamden, said revitalizing ports is crucial to overall development.
"We also need to double down on some of the successful programs we have already engaged in," Sharkey told reporters.
"Our job and our goal in 2014 is to assure the people of the state of Connecticut that we get it and that we're on it," Sharkey said.
Looney, D-New Haven, said the original momentum for the "Step Up" program began in the fall of 2011, allowing high-tech companies and firms in areas of high unemployment to have major subsidies during six-month training periods.
"We are going to need to recapitalize that program in this year because it has been so popular that most of the funds for it have been drawn down already," Looney said.
State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney said the Democrats' pre-session announcement comes at a time when the state economy continues to shrink and the unemployment rate is higher than the national average.
#2 Jan 16, 2014
just keep spending..........you know that's not what they do with THEIR OWN money.
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