CNBC: Connecticut’s Half-Way to CT20x17

CNBC: Connecticut’s Half-Way to CT20x17

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CNBC says there’s “good news and bad news” for Connecticut in their latest America’s Top States for Business rankings, and the good news is really great: We jumped 13 places, from #46 to #33.

Which means with a little more effort, Connecticut could be well on its way to achieving CT20x17, at least as far as CNBC is concerned.

In addition to moving within striking distance of the study’s overall top 20, Connecticut placed in that bracket in four of CNBC’s 10 categories:

  • Workforce (#4)
  • Quality of life (#11)
  • Education (#11)
  • Technology and innovation (#19)

“It turns out that Connecticut has some definite strengths,” says Top States author Scott Cohn, “and those strengths play directly to what businesses are looking for most these days.”

Speed bump

However, there’s a rather large speed bump in the way, says Cohn: our persistently high costs of doing business, which remain among the worst in the nation.

What’s “familiar to anyone who has ever considered the Constitution State’s business climate,” said Cohn, is that “Connecticut is expensive.”

Our rankings this year for cost of doing business (unchanged at #47) cost of living (down one to #49) and business friendliness (down eight to #32) continue to disappoint.

Saving grace

But our saving grace is a strong, highly talented workforce, and Connecticut jumped from #32 to #4 in that category this year.

We shined in the workforce category. Here’s what CNBC said:

Connecticut workers are among the most educated in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Connecticut workers are also among the most productive in the nation, based on economic output per job. It doesn’t hurt that Connecticut has a relatively small population at about 3.6 million people, with many working in high-output industries, like finance, insurance and business services. But that just speaks to the fact that the state is an economic and intellectual force.

What’s more, our economy ranking also took an enormous jump up, to #26 from #49 in 2014.

And our ranking for quality of life, another one of Connecticut’s hallmark strengths, improved.

Uphill climb

Cohn tipped his hat to the CT20x17 campaign in his main article about the Top States study. He tempered his praise for Connecticut in noting that while we made an impressive jump this year, we’re still below the middle of the pack, at #33.

Which means, he says, that our CT20x17 campaign “remains an uphill climb.”

Tax debate

State lawmakers are still battling at the Capitol over the next two-year state budget and, unfortunately, what taxes they may raise.

That kind of discussion will only make our uphill climb steeper. Higher taxes won’t improve the prospects for economic growth and even our ability to attract and keep talented workers in Connecticut.

That’s why business and community leaders—many on the CT20x17 campaign—continue to remind legislators of the sustainable spending reforms that could help make state government work better and more affordably.

It’s not too late, if they really want to listen.