To the editor,
While serving in the state legislature, I sought comprehensive approaches to job creation with proven successes. I wanted economic development and job creation programs with specific goals and the follow-up analysis necessary to ensure state investment achieved success. We need to know which programs work and which fall short.
For example, offering businesses large tax breaks has not promoted longer-term economic development or real job creation. In contrast, policies creating demand for products and services have been more successful. Our education system must prepare students with skills to manufacture products and deliver services in jobs paying a living wage, creating additional consumer demand, leading to additional hiring and the ongoing cycle of economic development.
One example is state policy support for energy efficiency and solar programs, creating successful small businesses to reliably deliver (employing skilled technicians) program incentives and services to residences and businesses. As co-chair of Energy and Technology, I championed green jobs.
In addition to ensuring workers the opportunity to develop skills for jobs in the economy and earn a living wage, we must provide appropriate supports for businesses to promote success. Energy efficiency programs help businesses significantly cut energy costs. We can also do more to reduce employers’ health care costs, being vigilant through public review of proposed increased insurance costs. By reducing energy and health care costs, business can grow, with more employees and better pay.
State policies must promote access to affordable capital. Strengthening the economy helps, but we must do more. The energy arena provides an example of successful programs: low-cost loans coupled with incentives to help businesses reduce costs.
We must also help our small businesses to succeed since they are primarily responsible for major new job creation. Too often the state bureaucracy poses a barrier. Small businesses need a one-stop information source, guiding owners and directing them to assistance programs. I supported the small business express program with this goal while in the legislature. We can and should do more.
The writer is a former state representative and currently the Democrat candidate for the 89th Assembly District representing Bethany, Cheshire and Prospect.