Connecticut Bleeding Jobs

The economic bad news is piling up. The state jobless rate has jumped to 7.1%, up from under 5% only a year ago. Connecticut companies are starting to lay people off: Webster and Mead-Westvaco announced Friday that they would be cutting staff. Over 29,000 jobs were lost in Connecticut this year: the most since 1991.

The jobless rate is still lagging behind the national jobless rate (just barely), but if history is any guide the recession here will last a little longer than nationally.

How will this affect races shaping up for 2010? Jim Amann has picked up on the idea that the economy will be the top issue in 2010, and has put a video on his website touting his “Hollywood East” tax breaks. But how credible is he on economic issues? How credible, for that matter, are Dan Malloy, Richard Blumenthal and Jodi Rell?

Malloy might be able to point to his city’s above average economic record. Blumenthal, on the other hand, seems almost entirely divorced from economic issues (though at this point I don’t think it matters–he doesn’t seem likely to run). Amann has Hollywood East, which is a notable success, but whether that will translate to greater credibility than the rest of the field on economic issues is unknown.

Gov. Rell may do fairly well when it comes to saving money, but she has yet to put together much of a plan to save/build jobs in the state. A lousy economy is always dangerous for incumbents, even ones as popular as Rell, if they’re seen as ineffective or not doing enough.

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7 responses to “Connecticut Bleeding Jobs

  1. Is the economy going to be the top priority within the likely Dem primary? I’m not sure what would be the issue(s).

    New Haven will likely keep immigration in the fore though. And if Malloy asks for union concessions this year (I think JDS did), then that’ll certainly arise in the primary.

    I find it hard to believe that Crusher will get much traction in a primary from his Hollywood adventure. On balance, I dislike it. It’s caused several traffic jams in B’port that I found really annoying. Though, it did attract my future wife, Kate Beckinsale, to town!

  2. And Bloomie wants to run AT &T now, too.

    That’ll encourage businesses not to flee to other states.

  3. In 2007, the Competitive Enterprise Institute compiled a report titled “The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General.” Topping the list at number one was Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal; Elliot Spitzer, drummed out of office by a sex scandal, was third.

    Bill Lockyer, number two in the 2007 listing, has since been elevated to State Treasurer of California, which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

    If Blumenthal does decide to run for governor, there are ten other “worst” attorneys general who will be vying for the first position.

    “Over the past decade,” said Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “attorneys general have increasingly usurped the role of state legislatures and Congress by using litigation to impose interstate and national regulations and to extract money from out-of-state defendants. The worst offenders flaunt such abuse of power, with the most notorious of the lot … boasting that he ‘has redefined the role of Attorney General,’”

    Blumenthal continues to redefine his role, recently as the new CEO wannabe of AT&T.

    “There’s a rumor going around that the AG doesn’t like AT&T,” Blumenthal said at an anti-AT&T union rally. “Well, I love AT&T. And when they start paying fair wages, when they start keeping jobs here, when they start playing by the rules, Connecticut will love AT&T.”

    The AT&T workers, according to one report, surrounded Blumenthal and chanted, “Governor Blumenthal.”

    Power wise, election to the gubernatorial chair would be a step down for the nations “worst” attorney general.

    In response to a shift in business from land line operations to wireless service, AT&T has announced that it is cutting its Connecticut workforce of 6,800 employees by 400 jobs; the company also will transfer another 60 jobs to Michigan. AT&T’s landline voice service was down 8 percent in 2008, while its wireless service was up 15 percent.

    The day after the news broke, Blumenthal was on the protest line with AT&T workers expressing the conditions under which he would be prepared to love AT&T.

    And, of course, Blumenthal’s affection is tied to the power of his office, so unrestrained by judges as to propel him into the number one spot as CEI’s worst attorney general.

    Naturally, AT&T is not willing to assume the prone position so that the attorney general may more easily grind its face in the dirt.

    “This is not about AT&T. This is not about Blumenthal. This is about the kind of message Connecticut is sending to business — a state that has no positive job growth and] people who are falling over themselves to prove that they’re pro-consumer by showing they’re anti-business,” said AT&T spokesman Dave Mancuso. Look at the states where companies are investing and I think you’ll see very different dynamics.”

    To which independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan of Atlanta adds, “All of a sudden, they’re going to take a big, strong company, and they’re going to squeeze it dry. If every state tried to exercise the same control, this company would be doomed. It wouldn’t have any control over its future or any control over being competitive.”

    Blumenthal has asked the state’s Department of Public Utility Control to block the layoffs.

    Blumenthal likes to boast that he earns for the state $14 for every $1 spent by his office in producing legislation and filing suits. But that accounting is questionable. We do not know how much in business taxes Blumenthal has cost the state in jobs and business lost through his punitive suits and questionable legislation.

    The message Blumenthal is sending out to current Connecticut businesses and prospective business may be more costly than is generally supposed by adulatory commentators, timid governors and supine judges.

  4. Just to add to the discussion, those employers who are not laying off are issuing furloughs. So while you may have a job and benefits, you have much less disposable income. Some of these furloughs do not qualify for uneployment benefits.

  5. With CT bleeding jobs, I hope that the General Assembly does not drive a stake through the heart of our businesses and balance the massive budget deficit on their backs. We as a state need to make ourselves more attractive to businesses by providing incentives that make us competitive with other states. Business make jobs that generate sales and income taxes.

  6. Amann has apparently pushed his announcement date of his campaign for Governor back to February 11th in an effort to avoid blowback from his recent $120,000 state job fiasco/embarrassment/fuckup.

    In the same press release, he has the unmitigated pure brass scrots to say he has been encouraged by the many working families who support him and his effort to end politics as usual.

    Am I actually reading this? The man who is himself the VERY DEFINITION of the crappiest of “politics as usual” is DARING to pretend that he represents an end to politics as usual?

    This is too much… we’re at a point where this buy is just firing out hot bullshit like a Pla-Do Fun Factory. We’re drowning in it. Enough.

  7. Speaker Donovan offering him that six-figure job during these times?

    THAT’S business as usual.

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