State Senator Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury) today voted with an overwhelming majority of her Senate colleagues to approve comprehensive economic development legislation. The bill is the result of bipartisan negotiations; the nearly unanimous vote, taken during today’s Special Session of the General Assembly, will create an enhanced business climate for existing companies to grow and prosper and for new businesses to relocate to Connecticut.

    Senator Hartley said the wide-ranging bill streamlines the state’s permitting processes, provides tax credits and other economic incentives for business expansion, encourages private sector investment, designates funding for brownfields remediation, and improves the state’s workforce training and development programs.

    “I’m particularly pleased with the plan to make permits, licenses, and other administrative requirements more accessible so things on those bureaucratic checklists don’t become obstacles to growth or relocation,” Senator Hartley said. “One highlight of this strategy is use of new technology to create a one-stop ‘portal’ through which applications and other forms become available, making interaction with the state much easier for businesses and bringing the entire operation into the 21st century.”

    Senator Hartley said specifics of the workforce development portion of today’s bill include revamping educational offerings to match employers’ needs, development of training programs for manufacturers, and fortifying the state’s vocational/technical and vocational/agricultural high schools. She said employers want assurances that residents can accept the responsibilities and meet the demands of their business and industry.

    “One area with enormous potential for growth is the small business sector, and this bill encourages job creation here through a revolving loan fund, a job creation matching grant program, and special manufacturing assistance,” Senator Hartley said. “We think this strategy can be particularly effective in any number of industries, and particularly in new and emerging industries like bioscience and clean energy.”

    Senator Hartley also voted with a 21 – 14 majority to approve state economic assistance for Jackson Laboratory to move from Maine to Connecticut and expand its operation here. Senator Hartley said Connecticut is well-positioned to support continuing growth in the cutting-edge field of bioscience and personalized medicine.