Democrats in the state senate have come up with their own plan to grow new jobs in the state. As WNPR's John Dankosky reports, the "Connecticut Jobs Now" plan focuses more on the short term needs of the state.
State Senator Donald DeFronzo says their proposal would make $1 billion worth of investments in areas of what he calls "strategic importance" like transportation, housing, and energy conversation. He told WNPR's Where We Live that these projects are authorized, and ready to start within a few months:
"Getting this money put in to the construction industry over the next 12 months has the potential of creating 15 or 16 thousand new jobs over that period."
Asked if this is like a miniature version of the federal "stimulus package," DeFronzo said, "in theory." But, in practice, their plan would not mirror the federal program by propping up existing programs or providing relief, it would instead be aimed at making new investments in building, a sector that's slowed to a crawl in the state. The timing is good, DeFronzo said, because of low interest rates, and a motivated construction industry that's coming in with low bids, while facing a 25% unemployment rate.
"I think we need to prime the pump here in a way to get people back to work, and once this happens, I think the ripple effect across the economy will be felt, and small businesses and large businesses alike will feel the impact."
And that's the key argument for a billion dollars in construction bonding, at a time when the state faces mounting debts, and still can't balance it's budget. DeFronzo says the state does have to pay attention to the budget bottom line, but...
"We have focused too much on mitigation plans, and debt ceilings and balanced budgets, and not at all enough on job creation, which I think is every bit as important as securing a balanced budget."
For WNPR, I'm John Dankosky.