Guv Hopeful: “Forget About Amazon”

Paul Bass PhotoSean Connolly shed no tears when Amazon decided not to build its new mega-headquarters in Connecticut.

If he were governor, he said, he wouldn’t have wasted time or money to compete with other states to lure the e-retail mammoth here.

“I say forget about Amazon. Let’s focus on the 6,000 technology firms that we already have in Connecticut. Help them scale up 60 jobs each,” Connolly said in an interview on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

“Any time or money that we would spend on trying to attract Amazon here would be pinging on Amazon. It wouldn’t be focusing on having an environment where we don’t have to go after them, because they want to come,” he said.

Connolly hopes to be the governor starting next year — and, he said, to concentrate on building the transportation infrastructure and development strategy to help small and medium-sized businesses grow and create jobs.

He is running for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He said he hopes to stand out in the crowd in part through his military credentials, He served seven years of active duty in the Army, and today, he’s a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. He served as state commissioner of veteran affairs. He said his military experience gives him leadership chops. And his veterans’ work gives him insight into the needs of the state’s 200,000 former military personnel. (He’s also the only Democratic candidate from eastern Connecticut; he lives in Hebron.)

Mission: Scaling Up

Like other candidates, Connolly said job creation is his top priority. He has embarked on a statewide “jobs tour.” He proposes creating an “economic operations center” where people from both major parties, business and labor all hash out solutions around that metaphorical “table” that all candidates invoke as a problem-solving venue. He spoke of making it easier for small businesses to pursue grants through the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

Connolly proposed encouraging “provider networks” to help smaller businesses grow. DECD, working with local chambers of commerce, would track businesses that can’t yet afford needed positions to get to the next level; then help them split the cost of shared positions through the new networks.

“Companies of certain sizes get to a point where the head of the company is doing the financial role. But it’s too big for the head of the company to do the finances anymore. But not big enough to hire their own” chief financial officer. Or say, a human resources director. Those are the kinds of positions companies could share, for a time, through provider networks.

Key to job creation is modernizing the state’s ailing transportation system, Connolly, like other candidates, argued.  He proposed creating a Connecticut Infrastructure Bank to leverage state money to raise private debt capital for transportation construction projects. Revenues generated by new electronic interstate highway tolls and, say, tickets for expanded rail service would repay the debt. (He said the bank would work similarly to the Green Bank, and he’d make sure that its dollars aren’t raided for other uses.)

“We’re not going to be able to rely on the Trump administration” to fund infrastructure improvements, Connolly said. “We’re going to have to do it” ourselves.

Besides giving companies more predictability, major transit improvements would also create good jobs, he argued.

Return Of The Staycation?

 

Connolly vowed to spend $20 million a year to promote tourism in the state as another job-creation strategy. Right now we spend $6 million, down from $15 million several years back, he noted. Every dollar spent promoting tourism returns $3 to the state through hotel and other tax revenues.

“We’re leaving $50 million-plus in revenues on the table,” he said. He said he’d find the money by making government “more efficient.”

By building up our own infrastructure, Connecticut will eventually lure the likes of Amazon without having to compete with other states in a race to the bottom with costly tax incentives.

“At a point Amazon would say, ‘Hey, I want to be in Connecticut. What can I do to get in Connecticut?’” Connolly said. “Not ‘What can you pay me?’”

In the WNHH interview, Connolly, who is seeking to run under the public financing system, also spoke of why, as the son (dad’s side) and grandson (mom’s side) of Irish immigrants, he would continue the immigrant-friendly policies of the Malloy administration. Including those that the Trump administration deems “sanctuary” policies that could lead to federal defunding.

Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear the full interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sean Connolly.

 

WNHH interviews with other gubernatorial candidates:

 

Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video to hear the full episode of “Dateline New Haven” with independent candidates Oz Griebel and Monte Frank. Click here to read a story about the interview.

 

 

Click above to hear the full WNHH interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Harris. Click here to read a story about that interview.

Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below for the full interview with gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.” Click here to read a story about the interview.

 

Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear the full “Dateline New Haven” interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Luke Bronin on WNHH FM, in which he also discussed, among other topics, the need for more vo-tech education and raining programs for coding and other high-tech jobs, as well as public-private job-creation partnerships. Click here to read an article about the interview.

 

Click on or download the above audio file or Facebook Live video below to listen to the full interview with Joe Ganim. Click here to read an article about the interview.

 

Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below for an interview with Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Dita Bhargava on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven.” Click here to read a story about the interview.Click on or download the above audio file or on the Facebook Live video to below to hear an interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Handler on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program. Click here for a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear an interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Prasad Srinivasan on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven.” Click here to read a story about that interview.Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear a WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Obsitnik. Click here to read a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file to hear a previous WNHH FM “Dateline New Haven” interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Ganim. Click here for a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file to a an interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program; and click here to read a story about that interview.Click on or download the above audio file to hear an interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Drew; and click here to read a story about the interview.

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posted by: robn on February 26, 2018  1:37pm

The Sanctuary Cities Issue is a big deal for those being threatened with deportation, no doubt. However, to state this yet again, the Trump Administration would only have the legal authority to cut federal funding for related police funding (which in most cases is very limited.)

posted by: brownetowne on February 26, 2018  5:17pm

I like Amazon, but I think the “forget about Amazon” idea is the way forward for New Haven.  I would add that we should forget about Yale as the answer to every problem in the city.  Yale is a big player but we should aspire to be more than just a “host city” for an ivy league school or corporate headquarters for a huge retailer.  To do this we need more small and mid-size businesses and organizations driving the vision and playing a role in city government and economic development.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 26, 2018  7:51pm

Sean Connolly shed no tears when Amazon decided not to build its new mega-headquarters in Connecticut.If he were governor, he said, he wouldn’t have wasted time or money to compete with other states to lure the e-retail mammoth here.

How True.

Amazon Is a 21st-Century Digital Chain Gang

Local governments offer subsidies, miss out on tax revenue, starve their citizens of vital social services, and fatten the profits of these modern-day robber barons.”

When Amazon announced plans to locate a $5 billion, 50,000-employee complex as its second headquarters somewhere in North America, state governments and municipalities fell over themselves offering billions of dollars in tax abatements and corporate subsidies to secure the prize. It might behoove the remaining 20 cities that have made the final cut to heed the warning from Virgil’s Aeneid: “I fear the Greeks, even when they are bearing gifts.” Especially when the gifts come in the form of a modern-day digital chain gang.Amazon likes to see itself as a cutting-edge, 21st-century growth company, always working to expedite delivery to its customers, whether by means of a drone, or eliminating queueing and bagging at its newly acquired Whole Foods stores with a new smartphone app. Beneath this high-tech sheen, however, the online retailer and tech giant engages in labor practices that provoke comparisons to a 19th-century sweatshop. The company routinely pays wages barely above the poverty line, while using intrusive surveillance systems to monitor the workforce, fence them in with elaborate rules, set target times for their warehouse journeys, and then measure whether targets were met. All of this information is made available to management in real time, and if Amazon’s “employee-athletes” fall behind schedule, they receive a Big Brother-like text message pushing them to reach their targets or suffer the consequences.

https://www.blackagendareport.com/amazon-21st-century-digital-chain-gang