The Connecticut Business and Industry Association is once again launching an election season ad campaign aimed at convincing voters to elect “pro-business” candidates.
”Opinion polls consistently show that taxes, jobs, and the economy are the top issues for people in our state,” said CBIA President and CEO Joseph Brennan. “We want to make sure those issues are front and center during what we believe is a make-or-break time for Connecticut.”
The $600,000 Fix Connecticut campaign will feature print, digital and broadcast advertising and will run into the 2019 General Assembly session when the state will have its first new governor since Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was elected in 2011.
Brennan said CBIA’s campaign is intended to focus voters’ attention on Connecticut’s economy. CBIA has outlined five policy priorities for lawmakers:
■Prioritizing economic and job growth by continuing to strengthen high school and college programs, and expanding private-public workforce development initiatives.
■Cutting state spending to reduce the size and cost of government, including privatizing appropriate state services, expanding the use of non-profit service providers, and decreasing overtime costs.
■Making Connecticut more affordable by lowering taxes.
■Reforming the state employment retirement system by aligning state employee compensation and benefits with other Northeast states’ public sectors and the private sector.
■Improving Connecticut’s business climate by rejecting workplace mandates and fees that drive up costs, streamlining permitting processes, reforming the state’s unemployment compensation system, and improving infrastructure.
“We wanted to make sure the people who are representing us will be fully aware of our economy and those issues most important to most citizens,” Brennan said.
A Quinnipiac University poll last week found that 69 percent of 1,029 respondents were somewhat or very dissatisfied “with the way things are going in Connecticut today.” The same poll found that 71 percent of respondents rated the state’s economy is “not so good” or “poor,” and that only 40 percent of respondents said they were better off than a year ago.
Another 30 percent said they were worse off and 28 percent said they were the same. Just under half of respondents, 49 percent, felt the state’s economy overall is about the same as it was a year ago, while 36 percent felt it’s worse and only 12 percent felt the economy as a whole improved.
Unlike 2016, CBIA will not be buying advertising time to benefit individual candidates. During that election cycle, the group spent more than $400,000 to help four Republican Senate candidates, including state Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, in his fight against Democratic incumbent former state Sen. Dante Bartolomeo. It also bought advertisements for nine Republican House candidates and two Democratic incumbents.
“The campaign will not mention or endorse any political candidate,” Brennan said. “We will separately do endorsements in the House and Senate races but there will be no expenditures surrounding those endorsements.”
The individual candidates have political action groups to assist them with advertising, Brennan said.
State economists have said Connecticut is the only state in the country with an economy that hasn’t recovered all the jobs lost in the 2008 recession.
It has recovered just 88 percent of all jobs lost during the recession, trailing the region and country in job growth, according to the state Department of Labor.