CHCC Hosts Successful “Coffee & Contractors” Event At Legislature
Last week CHCC hosted a successful “Coffee & Contractors” legislative breakfast meet-and-greet at the Legislative Office Building (“LOB”) in Hartford. Members had an opportunity to visit the LOB, learn more about how the state legislature works, and experience the legislature in action. CHCC also heard from our lobbyist, Andy Markowski of Statehouse Associates, who welcomed members and briefed them on important issues moving through the legislative process that day. These issues included bills furthering apprenticeship opportunities and workforce development (HB-6604) which had a public hearing before the Commerce Committee that morning, as well as various bills before the Energy Committee at their public hearing, including requiring heat pumps to be included as part of the state’s Conservation and Load Management Plan (HB-7106). CHCC is supportive of both measures. Several members even took the opportunity to review the agendas and attend portions of these public hearings later in the morning. In addition to networking with colleagues and CHCC staff, members also had the opportunity to speak with several state senators, representatives, and their key staff members who stopped in for coffee and conversation. In addition to CHCC members, our friends from the electrical trade joined us, with representatives from the Independent Electrical Contractors of New England also in attendance. This event not only allowed CHCC members to come together with other contractors and learn more about the importance of advocacy before state government, but also was an opportunity for CHCC to standout at the LOB and be visible to lawmakers.
Labor & Employment Issues Priority For Legislature – $15 Min. Wage; Paid FMLA
The top two priorities for the Senate Democratic Caucus at least, as well as many others in the legislature and also Governor Lamont, are the establishment and implementation of a paid family and medical leave program for the state, as well as an increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. CHCC has been participating in a broad-based coalition of other trade associations and statewide business groups that are united in opposition to these proposals because of the adverse impact that they will have on both employers and employees in Connecticut. Earlier this legislative session, CHCC joined with over 35 other organizations, signing on to an “Open Letter” that was sent to all state legislators, outlining the business community’s concerns with these proposals. CHCC also recently participated in a conference call with lobbyists and leaders of the associations participating in the coalition to discuss shared strategy and tactics for dealing with these legislative proposals.
Gov. Lamont Unveils Budget, Lawmakers and Others Already Expressing Skepticism
Last week Governor Ned Lamont presented his budget proposal to the legislature for the first time, and after only a week, there are already grumblings within the legislature, from members of both parties, who dislike portions of the budget. Though the budget does not contain any income tax increases at present, it does contain sales tax changes by removing several exemptions for goods and services. Notably for contractors, the Governor’s budget would apply sales tax to labor for services performed on residential property (renovations and repairs, etc.). Beyond contractor labor, sales tax would also be applied to architectural, engineering, legal and accounting services, among others. Business to business transactions, however, would remain tax-exempt. In addition, the Governor’s budget also calls for new revenue from the establishment of electronic tolling in Connecticut. While some legislators are expressing concern that the Governor’s budget proposal overall relies too much on new revenues and not enough spending cuts, some members of the Governor’s own party are unhappy about the sales tax changes and are instead already calling for an increase in the top income tax rates. The Governor’s budget proposals will now be subject to public hearings before the legislature’s Appropriations and Finance Committees, which have until the beginning of May to complete their work. For a complete overview of the Governor’s proposed budget as current presented, please click here.
Statehouse Digest – Curated Clips from around the Capitol