Gov. Dannel Malloy revealed this week that his administration has been in close talks with GE to try to keep the company and its 800 employees in Connecticut.
GE has operated its world base of operations in Fairfield for decades and recently threatened to find a new home for its corporate headquarters.
It comes after the General Assembly approved a two-year budget with tax increases for large multi-national corporations like GE that will take effect in 2017.
The company made public its concerns and its plan to potentially leave the state. Now the governor is working to prevent that from happening.
"We’ve indicated in general and in some cases specific terms what we thought we could do," Malloy said during a news conference Monday.
Economic development officials have been discussing some kind of incentive or tax package that would aim to keep GE in Fairfield, but Malloy wouldn't go into specifics.
"We certainly have had those discussions, stand ready to work with them on issues of concern and be competitive with other states," Malloy said.
The fact that Malloy has reached out directly to GE has placated the state's leading business group, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
"It’s a very good thing that the state is talking to the job creators in Connecticut," said Brian Flaherty, the group's vice president of public policy.
He cautioned, however, that it will likely take more than individual negotiating to improve the state's position with other companies.
"If you get the policy right, if you structurally have the answers down, then you don’t need to pull a rabbit out of the hat so often on these special one-time deals," Flaherty explained.
Republicans, who have been critical of all budget talks since February, were also quick to blame the entire situation on Democratic leadership and its failure to stand behind the budget.
"It just speaks to the fact that if our economic policies were as rock solid as they suggested and had a future for the state of Connecticut that was fiscally responsible, why would any company want to leave, and why would you make a package to keep them? Because our policies are awful," said State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano.
Fasano said he could see the state working with individual employers to try to keep them in Connecticut, which he says is not a good strategy.
"So today it’s GE. Tomorrow it’s UTC. Then after that it’s Electric Boat, and it goes on and on. Anybody with 250 employees or more are going to say they want the same deal they gave GE or we’re out of here," he said.
Flaherty with CBIA said he's confident the governor's administration could work to keep major employers in Connecticut.
"Just like Gov. Malloy convinced members of the legislature to come back and roll back a part of their taxes, it’s key that his administration is talking with all sizes of companies," he said.