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Malloy on Aetna: Not My Fault!

June 1, 2017 By Staff
Malloy on Aetna: Not My Fault!

Dan Malloy took pains on Wednesday to make sure his administration is not blamed for Aetna's impending departure from its headquarter city of Hartford.

Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) released a statement on the news that Aetna may relocate its headquarters from Hartford that seeks to deflect blame for the situation. Two letters Malloy released send the same message.

In his prepared marks, Malloy argued that the state has done plenty to try and keep Aetna in Hartford:

My administration has met and spoken with senior Aetna leadership multiple times in recent months. In addition to repeatedly making clear how much the company means to Connecticut, we’ve put formal offers in front of them.

Most significantly, we have offered direct incentives for them to stay, up to and including matching anything put on the table from a competing state in order to keep Aetna’s headquarters and jobs here in Connecticut. We’ve also included specific proposals that would, among other things, strengthen the City of Hartford, bolster our workforce development around Aetna’s needs, improve transportation in the region in which they operate, and make our state an even better and more responsive marketplace for them and other insurers.

Malloy included two letters he sent to Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. In one, dated in March, Malloy said “[m]y administration is committed to putting the state on firm and stable financial footing to ensure a predictable economic climate.”

In another, dated in May, Malloy expressed his frustration with the direction of the state: “I know you are frustrated with the fiscal problems and leadership of our state. I am frustrated also.”

However, as Reclaim Connecticut and others have pointed out on Wednesday, Aetna warned Malloy of these kind of repercussions if he passed tax hikes in 2015:

Aetna criticized tax increases supported by Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) in 2015. At the time, Aetna said that they would look “to reconsider the viability of continuing major operations in the state” if the tax increases passed. The two-year budget signed by Malloy in 2015 raised taxes over $1 billion.

In 2011, Aetna’s Bertolini said “Connecticut falls very, very low on the list as an environment to locate employees”:

“We’ve done the analysis, and, quite frankly, Connecticut falls very, very low on the list as an environment to locate employees . . . in large part because of the tax structure, the cost of living, which is now approaching, all in, the cost of locating an employee in New York City,” he said.

Has Malloy done enough to convince Aetna to stay? Time will tell.