Local legislators named to manufacturing caucus

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Theresa Conroy
Theresa Conroy

HARTFORD — State representatives Theresa Conroy (D-105) and Lezlye Zupkus (R-89) have been named to the General Assembly’s manufacturing caucus.

The caucus is a group of lawmakers focused on job growth and improving training in the field of manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is such a vital part of the state’s economy,” Conroy said in a statement. “That’s why I am thrilled to be a part of the legislature’s manufacturing caucus. I am always on the lookout for ways to help the Valley’s manufacturers survive and thrive.”

Zupkus kicked off her work with the group by participating in a presentation and roundtable discussion led by the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development as well as the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and the New Haven Manufacturers Association.

“There was a time when manufacturing was the undisputed backbone of our local and state economies as well as our job market, but the combined impact of growing operating costs, an increasingly sour regulatory environment, and overseas competition has weakened this critical piece of Connecticut’s economic landscape,” Zupkus said in a statement. “I’m proud to be a part of a group that strives to change that trend. We need an environment where manufacturers can thrive, and that starts by ensuring that government works alongside these job creators — not against them.”

Lezlye Zupkus
Lezlye Zupkus

The caucus was formed less than a year ago. Some of its early initiatives include, enhanced training for incumbent manufacturing employees and increasing and expanding apprenticeship opportunities in key manufacturing occupations.

Conroy said there are a number of programs and tax credits on the books to help manufacturers and small business. The programs include the Economic and Manufacturing Assistance Act, which provides low-interest loans and incentive-driven direct loans for projects when there is a strong economic development potential, and the Small Business Express Program, which provides loans and grants to small business to spur job creation and growth.

In addition to financial assistance there are more than half a dozen tax incentives such as the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit — a dollar-for-dollar corporate tax credit of up to 100 percent for an investment up to a maximum of $100 million in an urban area or an industrial project. The minimum investment is $5 million in distressed communities and $50 million in all other communities.