Press & Articles

Connecticut veterans need jobs, not red tape

Picture this: you’re an active military member who is transferred to the Naval Submarine Base in New London. You and your family have to pack up and start a new life in Connecticut. As a member of the military you don’t make a whole lot of money so your spouse works as well. But when you get here you find your spouse has to go through rigorous red tape just to continue working.

Or how about this scenario? You have retired from the military in which you worked as an electrician. Now in Connecticut you have to jump through licensing hoops and pay fees to become – you guessed it – an electrician.

If it was good enough for the U.S. military, shouldn’t it be good enough for the state of Connecticut?

These are some of the hurdles that active and retired military personnel face when coming to the state of Connecticut – red tape and restrictions to do the very same job they were doing in another state or as part of their military service.

This should change. Military families have already given enough. They should be afforded the ability to work without having to pay high fees and undergo mandatory schooling to do the same job they were doing in another state.


According to Governing Magazine, there are 4,600 active military members in the state of Connecticut.

And according to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, military veterans make up 6 percent of Connecticut’s total population – about 210,000 people. That’s a significant number of people who should be afforded more opportunity here in the state of Connecticut.

Military families often have to find ways to increase their income through a spouse taking a job and many of these jobs require licensing in Connecticut. Were you a licensed massage therapist in Virginia before your family was transferred to Connecticut? Now, in order to work, you would have to pay $380 to the state of Connecticut to do the same job.

A 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Department of Defense found that “military spouses are especially affected by occupational licensing requirements.”

State licensing requirements present a barrier to employment. It adds further strain on both people trying to work and consumers, according to a 2016 study by professor Mark Gius, Ph.D, of Quinnipiac University.

Connecticut already faces enough issues regarding job creation. We’re at the bottom of the list in terms of job creation nationally and have only regained 77 percent of the jobs lost during the 2008 recession. So things are hard enough for our residents.

And they’re even harder for a military family that has been transferred into the state or a veteran who is just trying to get on his or her feet after serving their country.

Fortunately, a proposed bill may end some of those restrictions.

House Bill 6074 will cut licensing fees in half for veterans and military spouses. Connecticut needs policies that will encourage and support military families and veterans who are trying to make a living here.

We know that occupational licensing presents a barrier to employment and raises consumer prices. This is acknowledged on both sides of the political aisle – including former president Barack Obama. So easing restrictions and reforming our licensing requirements would be step in the right direction.

Military members, veterans and their families have paid enough already. They shouldn’t have to comply with burdensome red tape just so they can work and live in Connecticut.

Study shows new businesses in Connecticut pay higher property taxes

Mention property taxes in Connecticut and there’s likely to be a groan. Connecticut has the fourth-highest property taxes in the country. Property taxes on businesses are the second worst, ahead of only New Jersey. But there’s more. New businesses just getting started pay higher property taxes than existing businesses, according to the Tax Foundation. That’s not fair. Even worse, it sends the terrible message that we don’t want people to create jobs right here in Connecticut.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would alleviate the property tax burden on new businesses (Senate Bills 7 and 406). This solution is one of 11 in the Yankee Institute’s Connecticut Can Work! toolbox of reforms. Each reform will make it easier to hire and work in Connecticut at no cost to taxpayers.

The Connecticut economy is in such bad shape that we need to start making changes right away and they need to be realistic based on where we are. Over the past 25 years, Connecticut had the slowest job growth. When it comes to unemployment for young people (ages 25-34) we are among the worst performers with West Virginia, Alabama and just ahead of Mississippi.

Connecticut has a burdensome tax on business equipment and inventories. This tax is, somewhat confusingly, called the “personal property tax” even though it taxes property belonging to businesses rather than people.


As a business gets older, typically its property will age, too. That means it pays lower taxes on essentially the same stuff. Because Connecticut has high tax rates on personal property, it hits new businesses and their new equipment particularly hard.

The Tax Foundation study Location Matters looks at seven model companies to see how their tax bill would vary by state. The difference between the rates paid by a new and a mature business in Connecticut is stunning – and largely driven by property taxes.

The property tax on a new retail store in Connecticut is so high that it exceeds the sum of all taxes paid by a new retail store in New Hampshire. Although an established retail store pays property taxes of 8.1 percent, a new store will pay nearly three times as much in property taxes – 23.1 percent.

A new distribution center would pay 30.6 percent while an established one pays only 19.3 percent. A new call center would pay 13.1 percent in taxes, significantly higher than once they are established (7.3 percent). (The property tax rates are stated as a percent of net income, which makes it easier to compare them with other business taxes.)

A new research and development facility in Connecticut would face a 13.5 percent tax rate, while an established one would pay only 7.7 percent.

Although a new capital-intensive manufacturer in Connecticut pays a lower property tax rate than other new businesses, it is substantially higher than the rates faced in other states. This is one type of new business where Massachusetts is more favorable. Connecticut’s rate is twice as high as our northern neighbor’s.

A new corporate headquarters in New York would face an effective property tax rate of 5.2 percent. The same new HQ in Connecticut would face rate of 7.8 percent – 50 percent higher. Once established, the business would pay 4.4 percent in both states.

The bills under consideration in Connecticut would provide businesses with a property tax exemption on the first $10,000 of personal property. This would save new, small businesses paperwork and a little money until they meet that threshold.

Yankee Institute screens startup documentary in Hartford

Hartford – Yankee Institute hosted a free screening Tuesday of the film Generation Startup, a documentary following the lives of six young men and women working at startup businesses in Detroit. The film highlights their successes and hardships as they, sometimes blindly, pursued their ideas and desires to create something new.

According to the film, entrepreneurship among young people is at its lowest point in 25 years and that factored into Yankee Institute’s interest in screening the film. “In Connecticut, sometimes we focus too much on the sure thing. It’s risk-taking and creativity that make the economy work,” said Zachary Janowski, director of external affairs for Yankee Institute.

Connecticut Can Work! is a set of no-cost reforms that make it easier to hire and work here. In particular, the reforms focus on making it easier for new businesses to get started – and succeed.

There couldn’t have been a better venue for screening a film about young people starting new businesses. The Sea Tea Comedy Theater on Asylum Street is part of a Hartford startup. The theater opened in August, but Sea Tea Improv has roots that go back much further. The company also has classroom space on Pratt Street. Sea Tea is a place where young actors and writers can hone their craft and perform for audiences as they strive to make it big in the world of show biz.

Greg Ludovici, artistic director and one of the founding members of Sea Tea Improv, says some of their actors have moved on to writing for popular national programs like Stephen Colbert or appear regularly on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. “The actors who had those aspirational dreams came here, studied here and really honed their craft and went on to do great things,” Ludovici said.

Connecticut Can Work! is all about making it easier for Connecticut residents to find their own way without extra obstacles of government regulation. “We wanted to bring together people to hear about our no-cost reforms to help Connecticut get back on its feet,” Janowski said.

Entrepreneurs – both young and old – are the engines that drive economic growth and they have enough obstacles in their way without having to cut through government red tape.

Yankee Institute to host screening of Generation Startup

Yankee Institute to host screening of Generation Startup
Documentary film shares the story of young entrepreneurs in America

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Zachary Janowski, Director of External Affairs for the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, announced that Yankee would host a screening of “Generation Startup” as part of Connecticut Can Work!, a reform initiative to make it easier to hire and work in Connecticut.

“This movie is about ‘learning to fail’ and ‘redefining success,’” Janowski said. “By hosting a screening, Yankee wants to encourage people, especially young people, to take risks in Connecticut. At the same time, we want to encourage lawmakers to smooth the path instead of creating barriers.”

The film will be screened on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Sea Tea Comedy Theater and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m. for happy hour and networking. The film will begin at 7 p.m.

“According to the Census Bureau, only a small share of jobs in Connecticut metropolitan areas are related to startups,” Janowski said. “Out of the 368 regions nationwide, the highest rank for a Connecticut metro area was 203rd, with only 1.8 percent of jobs related to start-ups for the Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford area. Hartford ranked 301st and New London ranked 338th.”

“Connecticut needs to begin to attract and foster young business growth, so that our economy will no longer be left behind,” said Janowski.

“We know that Connecticut can work if policymakers empower people to grow a healthy economy from the bottom up,” Janowski said. “We must attract and foster startups and other growing businesses.”

Generation Startup screening (Downtown Hartford)
6 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25
Sea Tea Comedy Theater, 15 Asylum St., Hartford
Doors open at 6 p.m. for happy hour and networking; Screening starts at 7 p.m.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. We expect a full house.

About the film:
GENERATION STARTUP, a documentary that takes us to the front lines of entrepreneurship in America, capturing an in-the-trenches look at the struggles and triumphs of six recent college graduates who put everything on the line to launch startups in Detroit. Directed by Academy Award winner Cynthia Wade and Academy Award-nominated Cheryl Houser, the film celebrates risk-taking, urban revitalization, and diversity while delivering a vital call-to-action—with entrepreneurship at a record low, the country’s economic future is at stake. The young men and women of GENERATION STARTUP are part of Venture For America (VFA), a program that sends recent college graduates to work at startups in fifteen cities around the country to train as entrepreneurs, and then helps them launch their own companies. 

For more information, please visit:

The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.

Yankee Institute releases new study: Connecticut Can Work! More Jobs for a Brighter Future

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Suzanne Bates, director of policy and legislative outreach for Yankee Institute, announced the release of a new study on jobs in Connecticut and the steps policy makers should take to create a brighter future for everyone through more jobs.

Just yesterday, lawmakers approved $220 million in credits and subsidies to keep Sikorsky in Connecticut. Long-term, it makes more sense to remove obstacles instead of using taxpayer money to convince companies to put up with them.

“Connecticut, we have a problem,” said Bates. “Policy makers in Hartford have erected too many barriers to job creation, which makes it harder for people to support themselves and their families.”

“Wage and employment trends are down all over the state, but especially for 25 to 34 year-olds in the Metro Hartford area,” said Bates. “The old adage is don’t die in Connecticut, but it seems too many people are having trouble living here too.”

“A recent Quinnipiac poll of Connecticut residents noted that 74% of those polled said they couldn’t find good jobs in their community,” said Bates. “And unfortunately, the state’s response has been to create more barriers to economic freedom rather than to take them down.”

“The study provides a harsh dose of reality along with a thoughtful and proven approach to open Connecticut’s economy, grow jobs and allow everyone equal opportunity for success,” said Bates. “Unlike the top-down, one-size-fits-all approach taken by too many in Hartford, our proposals cost the state nothing and instead empower innovators and enterprising individuals to start businesses and hire people in Connecticut.”

“We believe Connecticut can work,” said Bates. “But only if we cut red-tape and empower people to take our economy into the future.”

A copy of the study can be found here:

For more information about Connecticut Can Work! visit:

Yankee Institute releases “Blow the Whistle” video

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Zachary Janowski, Director of External Affairs for the Yankee Institute, released the “Blow the Whistle” video. It is the first of several videos in the Connecticut Can Work! campaign aimed at identifying policy reforms that will allow everyone the opportunity to work and succeed in Connecticut.

“Joe is a volunteer who runs a soccer league for kids. He wants to spend time on the field, but the Connecticut Department of Labor has been hassling him for years over how he pays people,” said Janowski. “When youth sports leagues are afraid to hire in Connecticut, other employers must be terrified.”

“Bureaucratic red tape creates artificial barriers to growth and success. Together they have Connecticut stuck in the past,” Janowski said. “Connecticut has audited some 95 sports leagues. State regulations are taking away opportunities from 14-year-olds who make spending money working at a soccer clinic. That’s a shame, but it’s also something we know can be fixed.”

Many of the Connecticut Can Work! policy reforms are aimed at such “solopreneurs” – people who consider themselves freelancers or consultants, and often work in the shared economy. “The state thinks of them as ‘independent contractors’ and hassles them because they don’t conform to the one-size-fits-all approach that government takes to our economy,” Janowski noted. “And that’s just wrong.”

“At the Yankee Institute, we believe Connecticut can work. That’s why we’re proposing a set of reforms to make working here easier, whether that’s growing your own business or getting a job at one. Everyone should have the opportunity to define and achieve success.”

For more information and to watch the video, please visit:

Other video links:

The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.

Yankee Institute launches jobs agenda: Connecticut Can Work!

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Carol Platt Liebau, President of the Yankee Institute, launched the Connecticut Can Work! campaign aimed at taking a fresh approach to growing Connecticut’s economy:

“Excessive regulation has Connecticut stuck in the past,” said Liebau. “As a result, we lose out to other states that make it easier to hire people and run a business. That’s a shame, because stronger businesses mean better jobs – and a better job means a better life.”

“We’re proposing reforms because, with the right policies, we know Connecticut can work. It’s time to remove the red tape that has become an artificial barrier to success.”

“Connecticut Can Work! offers fresh ideas to change the way policy makers approach growing jobs in our state,” said Liebau. “We want to open up opportunities for all workers, allow employers to grow and ensure that success is within reach for everyone.”

“We’re launching this policy campaign now, with reforms we will pursue in the coming legislative session,” said Liebau. “There are too many people in Connecticut who want to turn their ideas into a successful business or pursue a new career – and they should find opportunity instead of needless obstacles. Connecticut Can Work! is a set of first-step policies designed to grow our economy without costing government anything.”

For more information, please visit:

The Hartford-based Yankee Institute for Public Policy works to transform Connecticut into a place where everyone is free to succeed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Do you agree that Connecticut Can Work? Sign up to support reform today!

Thank you for supporting Connecticut Can Work!