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Spotlight on suggested Connecticut business reforms

Bob Patricelli has lots of business ideas, especially those relevant to promoting commercial growth in Connecticut.

And the former health care executive and longtime business insider is not averse to sharing them. Indeed, he is presently broadcasting them across the state and inviting their close scrutiny. Patricelli promises that his proposed fixes for a Connecticut economy that he says is barely treading water and performing “in shocking contrast to the states around us” will “reignite economic growth.”

Not everyone believes that.

Although Patricelli is a zealous proponent of select tax-based and spending reforms, he is also a realist who acknowledges that his ideas aren’t about to command unanimous support. He notes the opposition to his plan for expanding the sales tax revenue base and simultaneously repealing gift and estate taxes that apply only to the materially wealthy.

He insists he is right, though, and is asking state residents to “put aside conventional reactions” while they objectively consider his growth-linked strategies.

Here is a key Patricelli strategy: Go easier on taxing business principals, because empirical evidence shows they are exiting Connecticut in large numbers due to its onerous exactions.

Patricelli would couple that easing (the above-cited repeals) and its attendant loss to the state of some tax revenue by applying Connecticut’s 6.35% sales tax across newly expanded areas. He says that the result will not yield a net increase in taxes, and that business growth will jump from a newly energized business demographic.

Patricelli’s proposed legislation also calls for liberal scholarship funding of college students pursuing degrees in so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. Proponents of that strategy say that it will quickly begin paying big dividends across the Connecticut business sector.

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