Jul 25, 2014

Aresimowicz Backs Governor’s Order for DECD Transparency

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday signed an executive order designed to promote transparency in government, ordering the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development to create a searchable electronic database.

Aresimowicz Backs Governor’s Order for DECD Transparency
When Gov. Dannel P. Malloy took office, he promised transparency in government and an inside look at state spending. An executive order Tuesday aims to enhance those efforts – and Malloy’s order has support from Democrats including House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz.

The order, signed into effect Tuesday morning, will require the state Department of Economic and Community Development to create a database logging activity and detailing projects across the state.

The Berlin representative said Tuesday that he supports the order, hoping that the one-time cost will serve to provide better transparency and a more efficient process in the long term.

“Hardworking Connecticut taxpayers have the right to know exactly how their money is being spent—and if they are getting a good return on their investments,” Aresmowicz said. “Openness and transparency are key for a healthy democracy. I’m pleased that Governor Malloy signed today’s executive order that moves forward the bill that House Democrats passed earlier this year.”

The bill, originally presented by State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, requires the DECD to establish and maintain a searchable electronic database on DECD’s website containing information regarding the various forms of state economic assistance and tax credits used to recruit businesses and encourage job creation.  Additionally, the Commissioner of DRS will be required to provide the Commissioner of DECD with a report indicating the aggregate amounts of credits claimed in the previous fiscal year as well as those that are carried forward to offset future tax liabilities.  As provided by DRS, DECD will also post additional information concerning the size, type, and location of businesses claiming tax credits.

“This executive order is a significant step toward open government – providing the public and policymakers with key information about the state’s investments in economic assistance programs.  Our state invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year in economic assistance and tax credits designed to promote economic development and job growth, and the public deserves to know how these programs are performing,” Lembo said.

“I am incredibly grateful to Governor Malloy for making this a priority – and to the advocates and legislators who strongly supported this concept during the last legislative session.  I look forward to working with Governor Malloy and advocates of open government to ensure that Connecticut builds on this measure to make important government data more readily accessible to all Connecticut residents.”

Commissioner Smith also presented a progress report on the impact the landmark 2011 Jobs Bill (Public Act 11-1) has had on the state’s business community and economy to date.  Passed with bipartisan support by the General Assembly during the Governor’s October 2011 special session, the Jobs Bill is aimed at reinventing Connecticut’s economy by creating jobs, spurring innovation, and strengthening the state’s competitiveness.  Major highlights of the report include:

  • 1,114 companies have received or are receiving assistance through DECD programs, with 11,817 jobs to be created and 30,887 retained;
  • $475 million in direct financial assistance, not including tax credits, has leveraged about $1.9 billion in private sector investment;
  • Jobs Bill has encouraged the strengthening of the state’s workforce competitiveness, including $17.8 million in state bond funding to establish new Advanced Manufacturing Centers at three community colleges and the creation of the Subsidized Training and Employment Program which has helped 556 companies hire 1,976 previously unemployed individuals.

“Our new innovative and flexible economic development programs are assisting companies of all sizes, from large corporations to small Main Street operations,” said Commissioner Smith.  “This report also highlights the fact we are reaching a diverse mix of industries that reflects the overall economy, and that manufacturing continues to be an important area of focus.”

Commissioner Smith also unveiled a new map of statewide investments made through various DECD programs, including First Five, the Small Business Express program and the Manufacturing Assistance Act.  The interactive map is available at www.CTOpenForBiz.comand details the recipient companies’ name, location, funding source for the assistance received, and jobs created and retained.  Still a work in progress, DECD will incorporate other economic development funding sources into the map as well as the amount of assistance received in future updates.

As part of Governor Malloy’s electronic regulations or E-Regs project, the Governor announced in July that all state agency regulations would, for the first time, be posted online at www.ct.gov/eregulations.  The E-Regs project will also allow the public to view and participate in all stages of the rule-making process.

In October, the Governor also signed EO No. 37 requiring all state agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of their existing regulations with the goal of eliminating or streamlining those that are obsolete, unnecessarily burdensome, or otherwise inefficient.  The order builds on longstanding efforts by the Malloy administration to streamline agency policies and procedures and to increase the transparency and online accessibility of state regulations.  To assist in this effort, the Governor has invited public comment on any existing regulation more than four years old, which can be submitted through a web form provided at www.governor.ct.gov/regulations.

The preceding includes information compiled from several press releases.

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