"It's disappointing, but frankly not surprising we saw this drop," said Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. "We continued to struggle to make economic growth and job creation a No. 1 priority of everyone ...
Connecticut is one of the worse states to do business in, according to CNBC's annual ranking, dropping 10 slots since last year.The state ranked 43rd this year, just behind Oklahoma. The rankings are measured by categories such as the cost of doing business, access to capital, business friendliness and quality of life.
The top five ranked states are Utah, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota and North Carolina. Connecticut ranked higher than two other New England states â€” Maine, ranked 46th, and Rhode Island, ranked 50th."It's disappointing, but frankly not surprising we saw this drop," said Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. "We continued to struggle to make economic growth and job creation a No. 1 priority of everyone in Connecticut."
In 2013, the CBIA helped to roll out the 20x17 campaign, with the goal of move Connecticut into the top 20 in national rankings of the most business-friendly states by the year 2017, Brennan said.Connecticut's best category was workforce, which measures the education level of a state's workforce, the numbers of available employees, the state's right-to-work laws and its demonstrated abilities to retain college-educated workers, among others. The state took 18th place, dropping from fourth place in 2015.The state also ranked 18th in education, measured by K-12 test scores and long-term funding trends for higher education. Connecticut tied Wisconsin, ranked 23rd, for the 19th slot in technology and innovation, and ranked 25th in quality of life.Despite ranking within the top 25 in these categories, Brennan said he was concerned that the state dropped from its 2015 rankings. Connecticut was ranked 11th in both education and quality of life in 2015.Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said she was surprised by the rankings, as the state's workforce has improved in the past year."It makes me question whether these numbers really make much sense," she said. "When I talk to employers about our workforce, the reason they are here is because of the workforce."She pointed to Connecticut's fourth place ranking for quality of life in an October 2015 Forbes study, and fifth place ranking for innovation in a January Bloomberg study.Connecticut's cost of doing business and infrastructure were each ranked 47th. The low rankings were attributed to the state's tax climate and the vitality of the state's transportation systems.Connecticut was also ranked 46th in cost of living, in terms of housing, food and energy.Scott Cohn, a CNBC special correspondent and author of the study, said the workforce category weighs most heavily in a state's ranking, specifically economic output per job. One area that could have hurt Connecticut is in measurements of migration, or how many people are moving out of state, he said.Brennan attributed this to the state's major tax increase in 2015, and advised legislators not to turn to "hurtful" tax increases in the future. Every voter in Connecticut needs to take the legislative races very seriously this year if they want to see changes in the state's economic future, he said."Our population is shrinking and we are losing skilled workers. That's a real problem. If we drive up the cost of living here anymore, we will continue to see people with skills leave the state," he said. "The choices we make in November will be critical to our ability to improve these rankings and improve the economy."
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