As states eye CT companies, others plan to stand firm

FILE - This June 24, 2014 file photo shows the General Electric plant in Belfort, eastern France. General Electric Co. is cutting up to 6,500 jobs in Europe after buying a big chunk of France’s Alstom, raising questions about GE’s pledges to create rather than destroy jobs. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — GE leaving made national headlines a couple months ago, and now, more national headlines are being made with discussions to tax Yale for revenue. It’s safe to say the two stories don’t make our state’s business climate sound too good. But believe it or not, some people love doing business here and don’t plan to leave anytime soon.

After four decades, GE is abandoning its corporate headquarters in Fairfield and heading for Boston. Now, one Yale graduate said his alma mater should consider uprooting and relocating to Beantown, also.

“Connecticut’s found itself in unfavorable climate for regular businesses and also perhaps for non-profits like Yale,” said Walter Olson.

Olson is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. He said in part because of Connecticut’s fiscal crisis, business is fleeing the state like never before.

“It used to be the destination for corporate headquarters,” Olson said.

David Cadden is professor emeritus in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Quinnipiac University. He said it’s more than high taxes that hurts businesses, but also the difficulty for small business owners to navigate paperwork for taxes and regulations.

“Learn how to go lean,” Cadden said. “How to make things simpler, in terms of task. Put things online, to make task easier.”

It seems like the state of our business climate depends on who you ask. Some said Connecticut is exactly where they want to be and this is the perfect time.

“Fell in love with Connecticut, fell in love with New Haven,” said David Salinas, CEO of Digital Surgeons in New Haven. “Decided to open my business here because what New Haven means to the world.”

Salinas is also investing with a partner to rebuild the old CT Transit headquarters in New Haven. Their plan is called The District, and it will turn the old brick building into a West-Coast style tech campus, complete with a beer garden and a kayak launch along the nearby Mill River.

“We’re growing,” Salinas said. “We started (with) two people, nine years ago. We’re plus-40 now. We’re doing the District project. We’re invested in other business ideas that stayed here in Connecticut.”

Yale said earlier this week that they have no plans of leaving New Haven. The District project is scheduled to be completed by the early part of 2017.

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