Connecticut State Senator on General Electric: "They're Leaving" | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut State Senator on General Electric: "They're Leaving"

Sep 9, 2015

One Connecticut lawmaker is calling for a special session to repeal a new tax on corporations which he says is forcing General Electric out of the state. 

In a raft of last minute changes to its biennial budget this spring, Connecticut became the latest state to embrace a unitary tax, or what’s known as combined reporting. That forces companies with operations in multiple states to declare their taxes in the state where profits were earned, rather than being able to shift liability to a lower tax state. 

State Senator Tony Hwang said it's a terrible mistake. “We have always been a haven for corporate headquarters until recently,” he told WNPR.

Connecticut may be the last New England state to adopt combined reporting, but Hwang said it will make not just GE but other corporations think twice about their presence here.

Hwang's Fairfield constituency includes the headquarters that GE is considering moving — and he said that while the corporation itself may not pay much in state taxes, its 800 well-paid employees surely do.

“We can’t afford to lose a GE, which unfortunately I sincerely believe, because of our missteps and poor policy, they’re leaving, and it’s going to leave a huge gaping hole,” Hwang said.

Westchester, New York is currently rumored to be the front runner in the stakes to attract GE, although Dallas and Atlanta are also still being mentioned. Hwang said the unitary tax, the threat of a higher data processing tax, and changes to the rules about how companies can report losses all contribute to the impression that Connecticut can’t compete any more.

"We may be providing a tax incentive package, at the expense of taxpayers again, to try to keep GE," Hwang said, "when all they wanted -- and they've said that -- was a stable environment that had fair treatment for everyone.”

The senator, who’s a Republican, admitted his call for a special session to address his concerns is likely to fall on deaf ears in Hartford. GE has announced publicly it's appointed a committee to explore the possibility of relocation, but it has given no timeline for its decision.