Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gentile applauds legislative goals

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile, D-Ansonia, and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowitz, center, listen to Senate President Don Williams explain some of the Democratic goals. / Contributed photo

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile, D-Ansonia, recently joined with Democratic leadership in Hartford to unveil a jobs and small business agenda for the 2014 legislative session, focusing on employment and job training, cutting red tape, and growing new markets by establishing social benefit corporations.

“Anything we can do to help small businesses will be helpful for our local economy and will create jobs,” Gentile said. “These programs have proven to be extremely effective and helpful. We’ve taken what works and made it better and used the feedback we've received directly from business owners across the state to take these programs to the next level thereby making them easier to use and faster to process.”

The jobs and small business agenda unveiled today addresses business concerns, building on pro-business public policy initiatives enacted by the legislature over the past several years.   

Democrats from both the House and Senate are now proposing:

  • Re-capitalizing Connecticut’s highly successful STEP-Up program, which offers employers who hire an unemployed worker either a wage subsidy to help pay a new employee’s salary for the first six months, or provides a six-month training grant. Since its creation in October 2011, more than 2,000 unemployed people have been hired under STEP-Up in jobs like CNC operators, graphic designers, tool makers, welders, press operators, masons and engine builders. But the program needs a new infusion of capital; the original $20 million budget is down to $2.5 million, approximately enough to meet program demand through April.
  • Implementing new school-to-job programs such as an accelerated certificate program (12 months) combining basic education and technical and career training; an I-Best program for adult students lacking a GED which combines GED preparation with real-world skills training; and an Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program, where students combine paid work and college level study towards the attainment of an associate’s degree.
  • Cutting Red Tape by pre-permitting business development, renovation or new construction by pre-approving zoning and environmental reviews in order to save businesses time and money. The program would be based on New York’s ‘Empire State Development’s Build Now,’ where communities select and prepare sites for specifically targeted economic development, reducing the time normally needed to develop a site.

  • Establishing ‘social benefit corporations,’ a new type of corporation intended to use a portion of its profits to benefit society or the environment without fear of shareholder action. 16 states have enacted similar legislation, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Examples of social benefit corporations include Cabot Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Seventh Generation household products and Patagonia clothing.

This is a press release from Gentile's office.

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