HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There are reports another big company is threatening to leave Connecticut. A corporate spokesman is saying that rumors and speculation regarding the future of IBM’s Connecticut facility are “unfounded.” But, there is strong evidence that someone at that company is trying to send a message to the Governor and the General Assembly.
The original source of this story is the longtime Republican State Representative from Southbury where IBM has a huge facility. Arthur O’Neill is one of the most respected members of the General Assembly.
“IBM has been very clear to me through their representatives that the Data Processing Tax, the computer tax, is going to be devastating to their competitive position here in Connecticut,” he said.
A document circulating the Capitol purporting to be from an IBM lobbyist says “implementing short-sighted tax policy could very well cut Connecticut off from economic growth by putting data-centric Connecticut businesses at a competitive disadvantage.”
The tripling of the one percent data tax is the same part of the budget that insurance giant Aetna complained about earlier in June.
“They’ve made it very clear to me that IBM would be seriously thinking about moving out of the state of Connecticut, moving its operations to a more tax-friendly, more business-friendly state,” said O’Neill. He says such a move, involving over 1,000 employees, would have a devastating impact on the town.
Governor Malloy, who originally went along with the data tax hike to get other things he wanted in the budget, changed course and called for the idea to be scrapped after other companies complained and threatened.
“On day one, once the budget was passed, I said there needed to be changes. I’ve actually proposed what those changes need to look like. The data tax is absolutely one of those and I think there’s consensus that that’s going to be done,” he said.
But just because the Governor and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate agree on this doesn’t mean they can get the votes to change it when rank and file members of the Assembly are hesitant to make the spending cuts needed to do it.