Lamont offers tax cuts, plans for growth

September 19, 2018

After a five weeks of being a budget-busting punching bag for Republican Bob Stefanowski, who linked him continually with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s tax hikes, Democrat Ned Lamont on Wednesday announced that if elected, he would end the state’s business-entity tax and push other efforts to strengthen the state economy.

In a multi-part program released in a late-afternoon statement, Lamont said he wants to increase access to job training and reduce regulatory burdens on business, while investing more state dollars in tourism, and to create “an urban renaissance.”

But the bigger news is the plan to roll back the pesky $250 fee that all state businesses pay every other year, totaling about $25 million annually.

“With the knowledge and experience I have running a business, I will be able to create an environment where startups and small businesses can thrive,” Lamont said. “It will be done by embracing Connecticut’s core values of education, opportunity and equality - not abandoning the very priorities that make Connecticut a great place to live, like Bob Stefanowski’s plan would do.”

Kendall Marr, Stefanowski’s spokesman, said the announcement was an attempt by Lamont to make a sharp change.

“After finally realizing that Connecticut residents are tired of the horrible economic policies of Dan Malloy, Ned is desperately trying to reinvent himself with less than 50 days to the election. Why should we suddenly believe Ned now?” Marr said in a statement. “Ned Lamont continues to offer small concessions that will be more than offset by increased fees, taxes and tolls imposed on the hard-working people of Connecticut.”

The GOP candidate from Madison, seeking his first elective office, has been singularly focused on Lamont, Malloy and tax hikes, charging that the Democratic opponent would be more of the same, alleging even higher taxes as well as highway tolls and vehicle taxes. Stefanowski, while promising to eliminate the state income and corporate earnings taxes over eight years, has offered few specifics.

If elected, Lamont, a Greenwich businessman, said he would also free businesses with less than $10,000 in taxable personal property from that related tax, as a way to help startups and small businesses.

Lamont touted his role among other business leaders in bringing the India-based Infosys to Hartford, where the tech firm is expected to hire 1,000 employees. During Monday night’s debate in New Haven, Stefanowski, critical of the company, charged that Infosys was an out-sourcing firm.

“It didn’t happen by chance,” Lamont said of the Infosys deal. “It happened because we convened a group of business leaders including Travelers, the head of Aetna, the head of Hartford HealthCare, and the head of Stanley Black and Decker to convince Infosys to build its new training and innovation hub in Hartford.”

Lamont also vowed to work with business, education and labor to create more apprentice programs; and put more money in the state’s vocational-and-agricultural tech high school systems.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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