Connecticut’s largest business association releases congressional voting scores

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), the state’s largest business association, has released legislative scores for lawmakers in the House and Senate that reflect individual votes on key business issues coming to committees and the General Assembly during the 2023 legislative session. session.

CBIA based its calculations on the potential impact of the legislature on the state’s economy, including unemployment benefits for striking workers, the creation of a savings account for first-time homebuyers, expansion of paid sick leave and emissions, and ten bills that CBIA supported or opposed. goals.

Only two of the bills related to workforce development and unemployment reporting requirements were passed by Governor Ned Lamont and became law. The rest received committee votes but failed to pass either the House or the Senate. Due to the nature of the bills and the fact that many of them only received a committee vote, not all members of the legislature had the opportunity to discuss all of the major CBIA issues.

Overall, outnumbered Republicans in the legislature scored higher on CBIA’s scorecards, with Senate Republicans scoring an average of 90.2 percent and Senate Democrats scoring an average of 49.6 percent, according to Connecticut Inside Investigator estimates.

The House was more even, with every Republican scoring 100 percent and House Democrats averaging 75.1 percent. Some top Democratic leaders in the House received 100 percent approval ratings based on their voting records, including House Speaker Matthew Ritter, D-Hartford, and House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford.

Conversely, many state lawmakers with close ties to unions, including Sens. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, a former labor leader who chairs the Labor and Public Employees Committee, and Anne Hughes, D-Easton, also serve on the Labor Committee.

All but one of the bills CBIA opposed passed the Labor Committee, where businessmen and lawmakers often butted heads over business mandates.

“Our voting scorecards reflect legislators’ priorities, measuring their support for critically needed workforce development and cost-effective solutions,” CBIA President Chris DiPentima said in a press release. “However, it’s clear we need more small business champions in the legislature.”

CBIA applauded the General Assembly and received broad support from the Govt. Ned Lamont administration.

They also praised 84 lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle for supporting CBIA’s policy solutions to transform Connecticut, including lowering the state’s cost of living, providing more housing options, easing the tax burden on small businesses and promoting Connecticut as a place to work. .

The union has consistently noted that there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs in Connecticut, even as the latest unemployment report showed that Connecticut has regained nearly all of the private sector jobs lost during the pandemic. In a separate press release, DiPentima noted that Connecticut needs to address cost of living, housing options and child care costs to attract more people to the state to do these jobs.

But businesses are also dealing with repeated and increasing regulations and mandates passed by the General Assembly, including increased minimum wages, paid family and medical leave and sick day requirements — all of which CBIA opposed at the time.

During the 2023 session, CBIA listed several bills they opposed as benchmarks for the grading system. Those bills included unemployment benefits for striking workers, expanded sick leave, and paid FMLA offsets, none of which were ever voted on by either chamber but passed out of committee.

“Connecticut is often rated as a higher-cost state to do business, and the 2023 session has introduced a number of bills that will make that situation worse,” DiPentima said. “We’re grateful that lawmakers from both parties are willing to reject these mandates, which do nothing to help population growth, create and fill jobs, or help small businesses compete.”

The 2023 session also saw one of CBIA’s top priority bills die without a vote at the end of the session. A bill that would allow business associations like CBIA to offer large group health insurance to their members, potentially lowering health costs for small businesses that must purchase small group plans, was widely supported but never brought up for debate. vote before the end of the session.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our economy and deserve more support so they can survive, compete and thrive,” DiPentima said.

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