Aetna leaves, Amazon comes. What’s going on with job creation in Connecticut?

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The deal to bring Amazon to North Haven involves up to $25 million in tax incentives to create 1,800 jobs.

Amazon will invest a quarter of a billion dollars to build their third distribution center in Connecticut.  The state’s job creation strategy appears to be working for Amazon, but is it enough?

The news that Amazon will construct a third facility in Connecticut will bring their workforce here to nearly 4,000.  Building it on the long vacant site of a former Pratt and Whitney plant is a huge boost for North Haven and the immediate area.

Related Content: Amazon to open new fulfillment center in North Haven; creating 1,800 jobs

The Governor, who’se administration is still suffering from the public relations sting of losing the Aetna’s headquarters, was  understandably up beat today and says there are more Amazon type deals in the works, “I think in the next couple of months there’ll be quite a few important announcements about job growth and job re-location into Connecticut.”

Related Content: Aetna CEO says headquarters move will have ‘minimal impact’

He was visiting Bloomfield Friday touting “Fuel Cell Energy’s” new fuel cell module here. The company is doubling the size of its Torrington plant.  “The Torrington expansion will create more jobs as more fuel cells get deployed,” said Mike Bishop of FuelCell Energy.

The fuel cell powers the massive Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield that serves the entire northeast.  Another company that says they’re happy with Connecticut.  “We have 275 employees. Six days a week, 24 hours,” said Mike Browning of Pepperidge Farm.

Brian Flaherty of the state’s largest business organization, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, says all of the incentive deals are great but the legislature must solve the budget mess and give business the feeling there is stability in state government.  “We need stability at the Capitol to build confidence among the job creators that Connecticut is the place to grow,” said Flaherty.

The Governor’s Economic Development Commissioner, Catherine Smith,  agrees; that’s the necessary other part of a successful job growth strategy,  “We have work to do in this state to insure that we take actions that are needed to make sure we solve our long term liabilities. That we look after and make sure that the budget is balanced every year and it’s not.. it doesn’t become a crisis.”

Smith says she’s optimistic the state budget problem will be solved.  She also says she’s been working on the Amazon deal for a couple of years.  She says New Jersey was in contention and was offering incentives too.  Her agency did the research and found that there is a ready workforce for Amazon to hire here and that’s what closed the deal despite the current uncertainty at the State Capitol.

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