GOP Viewpoint: New voice, same message

In a Hartford Courant June 23rd op-ed, Jim Loree, the CEO of Stanley, Black & Decker, writes that he believes in the proposed State Senate Republican budget and explains what it will take to keep his business in Connecticut and grow jobs. Excerpts follow:

“As if Connecticut needed one more reason to sound the alarm, Aetna’s plans to relocate its headquarters and the Florida governor’s recent corporate recruiting visit give us two. While it is tempting to rationalize away both events, the reality is that Connecticut is facing a serious crisis. “The time has come to take the steps necessary to support the long-term economic sustainability of the state.

“Connecticut and the Greater Hartford area offer a quality of life with a highly-educated workforce and an abundance of cultural and recreational assets...

“It’s no longer enough, however, to highlight the great public schools, health care institutions and culture of the region. And being located halfway between New York and Boston is not the advantage it once was given our inadequate transportation infrastructure. Our state’s historical economic appeal has diminished over time as repetitive tax increases have taken their toll.

“We applaud Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Senate Republican President Pro Tem Len Fasano for their budget plans, both of which are solid steps in the direction of fiscal responsibility. We prefer Sen. Fasano’s approach because it goes much further toward eliminating inappropriate practices related to public employee pensions and is less punitive to towns and municipalities. “Nonetheless, either of these plans or something in between, if implemented, should begin to ease some of our state’s business leaders' concerns regarding state fiscal viability.

“I cannot speak for them individually, however, I know for a fact that the majority of the remaining public company CEOs in the Greater Hartford area feel committed not only to staying here, but are willing to roll up their sleeves and work with government to bring more jobs into the state under certain conditions.

  • First, the state financial issues must be addressed with no new major tax burdens.
  • Second, Hartford’s financial viability must be addressed and there must be a willingness at the state level and city level to work together to revitalize Hartford as a vibrant urban center that can be a talent magnet and attract young professionals. I can’t overstate how important we believe this is to our state’s success. Without the help of businesses and government cooperation, Hartford is unsustainable.
  • Finally, the state in general must take actions to create a more hospitable business climate and we business leaders must do our part, as well.

“I share great excitement and optimism, not only for the future of our company, but the future of our state and our cities. Our vision is to be a great industrial company — one that is human-centered, innovative, committed to delivering outstanding growth and profitability, while acting with the utmost social responsibility.”

Jim Loree is president and chief executive officer of Stanley Black & Decker, a $20-billion market cap company based in New Britain.