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EXCLUSIVE: Small Biz Leader Says Budget’s a “Relief,” But More to Be Done

October 27, 2017 By Staff
EXCLUSIVE: Small Biz Leader Says Budget’s a “Relief,” But More to Be Done

Andrew Markowski, Connecticut director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), talks to us about the budget and going on offense for small businesses.

The bipartisan budget passed on Thursday is a “sigh of relief” for Connecticut small businesses, according to the Connecticut director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Andrew Markowski answered Reclaim Connecticut’s questions on Friday, a day after the state took major steps to ending a four-month budget impasse by passing a budget by overwhelming margins in both legislative chambers.

“SIGH OF RELIEF”

“First and foremost it’s a sigh of relief,” Markowski said. “Relief that not only is the budget process over with, and hopefully that will end some of the uncertainty that’s been going on in Connecticut, but also what’s noticeable is a sigh of relief that there are not any broad-based tax increases in the budget.”

Markowski said the budget does not have sales tax increases, income tax increases, or corporate tax increases, “all tax increases that we’ve fought against in the past.”

DEFENSE

Asked about the next legislative session, in 2018, Markowski said that “unfortunately” it looks like NFIB Connecticut will “be on the defensive.”

“From a fiscal standpoint, we’ll be watching the numbers closely,” Markowski said, referring to revenue numbers, “to see if the budget is remaining in balance.”

If it’s not, he said, NFIB Connecticut will be watching to make sure the legislature doesn’t fall back on “past habits” of raising taxes on businesses to make up for deficits.

The better path, Markowski suggested, would be a continuation “of some of the bipartisan work” that produced a budget this year.

“It’s early,” Markowski cautioned. “It’s a little tough to tell.”

OFFENSE

Asked about what NFIB Connecticut can do on offense, Markowski cited a few items:

  • “The broad-based category of regulatory reform … [s]imple things, for example like allowing for a waiver of a penalty or a fine for a first-time violation of an offense.”
  • Reforming unemployment insurance, and the cost of that to small business owners, who “have been really feeling the pinch of paying into that”
  • Repealing the business entity tax, a “$250 nuisance tax just for the privilege of existing as a business in Connecticut”

NFIB will pursue these items and more in their fight “for an environment that is conducive for their success,” Markowski said.

Markowski added that small businesses in Connecticut and across the nation will have an eye to Washington, D.C. as the tax reform fight gets underway.

“What we’re saying there is any tax reform has to start with small business, and that’s key.”