Connecticut Jobs One Program The DeStefano Proposal for 200 000 New Jobs The December jo by gvk15327

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									                                     Connecticut Jobs One Program
                                      The DeStefano Proposal for 200,000 New Jobs

                                 The December job numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics once
again put Connecticut near the bottom in terms of job growth. The year-end numbers placed Connecticut
43rd in the country. In fact, New Hampshire, a state about one-third the population of Connecticut, created
nearly as many jobs as Connecticut did.But Connecticut’s job slump is more than about numbers; it’s about
real people. We have only to look to Hartford, where scores of high-paying information technology jobs are
being outsourced and moved overseas; to Groton, where 222 layoff notices were handed out at Electric
Boat; to Waterbury, where a bronze factory is closing, putting 90 people out of work; to North Haven, where
850 distribution plant workers are losing their jobs; and to New Haven, where Winchester firearms is closing,
idling 186 workers.

Connecticut needs a new direction and new ideas to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs and jumpstart growth.
Legislators will soon decide how to use the state’s budget surplus, which is pegged at $500 million but is
expected to top $700 million. Some money should be deposited in the Rainy Day Fund and some should be
put into the underfunded Teachers’ Retirement Account. But the storm clouds are gathering. If Connecticut
does not begin to address its stagnant job growth, the deluge will be upon us. We must act decisively and
we must act now.Connecticut needs to spur job growth by investing in economic development that creates
good-paying jobs immediately and also builds a foundation for sustainable growth over the next several
years.The DeStefano Plan to leverage a portion of the surplus to stimulate job growth includes the following:


   College affordability scholarships.

   ousing Trust Fund for In-Demand Careers.

   Elimination of the property tax on manufacturing equipment.

   Economic SWAT teams.

                      Math and Science Skills: A National Challenge

This country is facing a severe shortage of math and science professionals. With the retirement of baby
boomers and short pipeline of scientific and technical professionals, the country’s competitive edge is in
jeopardy. The recent national report, Rising Ab ove the Gathering Storm , calls for a national effort to raise
math and science skills. Some of their findings include:


   In 2004, China graduated about 500,000 engineers; India 200,000; and the United
       States, 70,000.

   In one recent period, low-wage employers like Wal-Mart (now the nation’s largest
       employer) and McDonald’s created 44 percent of all new jobs. High-wage
       employers created only 29 percent.

   In 2003, foreign students earned 59 percent of the engineering doctorates awarded in
       U.S. universities.

The warning signs are being ignored by the White House and Congress. nfortunately, Go v. Rell has chosen
to do the same.
                                      Connecticut’s Opportunity

Connecticut has an opportunity to break away from being a bottom 10 state in job growth by investing in
higher education with an emphasis on raising the talent pool in the fields of math and science.The
Connecticut Department of Labor issued a report, Catalysts for Future Economic Growth in Connecticut,
which demonstrates the return on investment by focusing on math and science knowledge and skills. The
report states:“Given the current economic conditions, Connecticut still remains in an advantageous position
with regard to labor shortages, since it houses some of the world’s best math, science and engineering
universities and ranks among the highest concentration of high technology establishments and of scientists
and engineers as a share of the workforce. Yet, as our public and private institutions of higher learning
steadily confer math, science and engineering degrees to highly trained graduates, their numbers still
remain below forecast demand.”Gov. Rell has been asleep at the switch. The governor’s most notable
accomplishment in the area of math and science so far has been declaring October Science and Math
Teacher Appreciation month. (press release: 10/26/2005) Her other strategy is to declare that she’s appalled
and aghast after layoffs are announced and to ask the affected companies to reconsider. They invariably
reject her request.

The DeStefano Plan

Connecticut ranks dead last in state and local investment in higher education. This is undermining the
state’s historic position as a national leader in producing a skilled workforce. Rising tuition and housing costs
have resulted in a Connecticut brain drain.The recent Labor Department report demonstrates that
Connecticut has a skills shortage and not enough graduates in speci fic degree programs to meet the supply.
Investing in in-demand degree scholarships represents one of Connecticut’s best chances to stimulate job
creation for occupations that pay high wages. Those in-demand degrees include:


   Bioscience

   Computer Science

   Engineering

   Physical Science

   Nursing

Target Tech: $180 Million for In-demand Scholars Program

Science scholars: $145 million over 4 years.$10,000 science scholarships will be available to students that
pursue degrees in bioscience, computer science, engineering and physical science at an accredited higher
education institution in Connecticut. About 3,500 science scholarships will be available every year over the
next four years. A maximum of $10,000 will be available over 4 years/per student.Nursing degree: $35
million over 4 years.$10,000 nursing scholarships will be available to meet the current supply, allowing for
875 scholarships per year. A maximum of $10,000 will be available over 4 years/per student.To ensure th at
the talent pool remains in Connecticut, each scholarship will require a 4 -year residence in the state. If a
scholar leaves the state before completing his residency requirement, the scholarship will be treated as a
loan.

Housing Trust Fund For In-Demand Careers

Connecticut, and particularly Fairfield County, has become one of the most expensive housing markets in
the country, putting homeownership out of the reach for many recent college graduates and young
professionals. At the same time, many science-related industries are having difficulty attracting workers to fill
vacancies because of the high housing costs.$50 million from the budget surplus will be invested and the
yearly interest used to offer downpayments to first-time homebuyers who are employed in fields related to
bioscience, computer science, engineering, physical science and nursing. The amount per household will be
limited to $20,000.It’s estimated that the Trust Fund will generate roughly $4 million to $5 million a year in
interest, generating as many as 250 downpayments of $20,000 each. The recipient will be required to be the
primary tenant and live in the housing unit for 4 years, generating property tax revenue for the municipality
and income tax revenue for the state.The trust fund for in-demand careers will be a complement to the
Housing Trust Fund for Growth and Opportunity that was enacted in 2005 and intended to increase the
stock of affordable housing.The housing program will be similar to the one used so successfully in New
Haven, where the city and nonprofit organizations have spurred the creation of hundreds of housing units for
first-time homebuyers. Institutions such as Yale University, which recently celebrated its 700th participant in
the home buyers program, have made a huge difference in stabilizing neighborhoods and providing
opportunities for young families.

Elimination of the Property Tax on Manufacturing Equipment

Connecticut has lost more than 107,000 manufacturing jobs in the past 15 years, and no end is in sight.
Electric Boat announced in December that 2,400 workers will be laid off.Connecticut is at a competitive
disadvantage with regard to its Northeastern neighbors, as well as to states in regions of the country where
labor and utility costs are substantially lower. In an effort to lighten the tax burden on manufacturers and
generate jobs, the property ta x on manufacturing equipment will be eliminated. The s tate already provides
reimbursements of roughly $50 million a year to municipalities through its Payment in Lieu of Taxes program
(PILOT). Eliminating the tax will increase the state’s annual payment to about $190 million, or about $140
million in additional dollars.The elimination of the manufacturing tax should be done in the context of a
comprehensive tax reform package, the details of which will be discussed at a later date.

Economic SWAT Team

$5 million will be used to create an economic rapid response team whose mission will be twofold. The
multidisciplinary team will consist of public- and private-sector officials, economists, academics and futurists,
and replace the ineffective Rapid Response Team now used by the Department of Labor. First, the SWAT
team will be deployed to the site when layoffs or plant closings are announced, survey the workers,
ascertain their skills and interests and match them up with existing job openings and/or retraining and
education programs.Second, the team will focus on economic diversification and will brainstorm new and
dramatic uses for workers’ job skills. Such uses could include product development or evolving technologies.
A Connecticut Talent Bank will be created using 21st century technology to help match job seek ers with job
openings. It will accept resumes via the Internet and allow employers to search online for potential
employees. This is similar to a talent bank in existence in Michigan, where 300,000 resumes and 40,000
jobs have been posted. The system will be free to employers and job seekers.


TOTAL COST of DeStefano Plan: $375 million.

								
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