State Representative Roland Lemar, D-Hamden, this week hailed the House and Senate passage of what he describes as the most comprehensive jobs bill of the 2011 legislative session.
“This is one of the most important pieces of legislation this year," Rep. Lemar said. "The fact that it received unanimous bipartisan support shows that we can work together and achieve concrete results that will help create and retain manufacturing and technology-based jobs for the long-term.
“Incentives and a strong network between investors, academics and the state can transform Connecticut," he said, "into a center of innovation that can be a magnet for entrepreneurs, talented people and great ideas to take root.”
The goal of the legislation is to jump-start job creation in the state, Lemar said, laying a foundation for long-term economic growth, providing incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation, and making investments in manufacturing and education -- all contained in the bill.
The legislation is an outgrowth of the Majority Leaders’ Job Growth Roundtable initiative that was led by House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, both Democrats representing Hamden.
In addition to lawmakers, the roundtable was made up of academics, economists, labor and business leaders, and venture capitalists.
Specifically, the Job Growth Roundtable’s recommendations reflected in HB 6525 include:
- Investing in business growth – Positions Connecticut to be an innovation leader by driving technology-based economic development and manufacturing reinvestment.
- Student loan reimbursement for green tech degrees - Students can qualify for up to $2,500 or 5 percent of annual tuition for 4 years.
- A manufacturing reinvestment fund - Expands and protects manufacturing base through new tax-preferred account where machinery, equipment or facilities can be purchased. Up to $50,000 can be used by 50 manufacturers with 50 or less employees for up to 5 years to reinvest and grow their businesses. Account disbursements are taxed at only 3.5 percent.
- An innovation network created in government – DECD will organize technology leaders and entrepreneurs, to increase the state’s innovation competitiveness using incentives and financial support to strengthen the bond between universities and industry. In partnership with federal research funds, the bill increases corporate-sponsored research and establishes an innovation accelerator linking universities and corporations to start-up technology companies. It strengthens technology transfers and entrepreneurship activities at UConn and links angel networks and incubators.
The bill now goes to the governor for signing.