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State Senator

John Fonfara

Deputy Majority Leader

Representing Hartford & Wethersfield

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Contact: Dave Steuber
860-240-8616

January 22, 2010

Coalition Again Calls on Governor Rell to Enact Connecticut Jobs Now

State unemployment rate rises to 8.9 percent; plan would create more than 16,000 jobs

A coalition of Senate Democrats again called on Governor M. Jodi Rell today to take action on a comprehensive plan that would put more than 16,000 people back to work at a time when the state’s unemployment rate stands at 8.9 percent.

Yesterday, the state Department of Labor reported that Connecticut’s unemployment rate had risen from 8.2 percent in November 2009 to 8.9 percent in December 2009. From November to December, the state lost 4,800 more jobs. Since the start of the recession in March 2008, Connecticut has lost 94,500 jobs; the estimate of people currently unemployed, when seasonally adjusted, now stands at 167,900.

The Connecticut Jobs Now plan calls for $1 billion in state bonding to invest in transportation infrastructure, housing, energy conservation, clean water and higher education — an aggressive plan to create jobs, stimulate the Connecticut’s sluggish economy and promote economic recovery.

Senate Democrats released the plan, which requires no legislative action, in late December; to date, the Rell Administration has neither taken action on the proposal nor offered an alternative comprehensive jobs creation program instead.

“If not now, then when?” said Senator Donald DeFronzo (D-New Britain). “We’ve been in a recession for nearly two years now, and all we get from Governor Rell is ‘no’: no new jobs, no interest in cooperation and no plan to stimulate job growth in the state of Connecticut. Connecticut Jobs Now is a comprehensive plan that would create good-paying jobs for people who need them and directly infuse life back into our economy. Governor Rell should do what’s necessary and enact this plan. If not now, if not this plan, then when is the administration going to step up with a proposal to stop the bleeding in this state?”

“The governor is fiddling while Connecticut burns,” Senator Gary LeBeau (D-East Hartford) said. “I think she’s hoping to get out of town before it burns down. It’s time she showed some initiative and moved this pro-jobs proposal.”

“I’m particularly excited about the potential for our state’s small businesses, especially within the construction industry and related trades, including designers and engineers, architectural firms, landscapers and all the Mom & Pop businesses their employees would frequent while traveling to, from and near the job sites,” Senator Edith G. Prague (D-Columbia) said. “An immediate impact could be realized within 90 to 120 days — before spring and its concurrent, seasonal activity uptick. Quick action would also help stretch every dollar and benefit from both historically low interest rates and low bids from companies eager to compete for the work.”

“The governor’s asked for ideas. This is an idea that puts people to work through thoughtful reprioritizing of our state bonding,” said Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington). “We’re trying every way we can to put people back to work while taking advantage of favorable market conditions. I’ve discussed this proposal with business leaders who agree it’s a sensible approach. I urge the governor to take another look and reconsider this plan.”

“Connecticut is so much richer for comparable investments made 70 years ago — the last time we needed a jobs creation program as desperately as we need this one. Our state has dozens of New Deal legacies, including the Merritt Parkway itself, which still performs admirably 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Senator Andrea Stillman (D-Waterford). “We reiterate our call for the governor today because our proposal follows a proven formula for success.”

“The best role for government in a down economy is to help stimulate the private sector,” said Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford), “and help put people back to work. Senator DeFronzo’s plan will do just that."

“It’s often said that the best social program is a job, and this proposal helps people help themselves,” said Senator Jonathan Harris (D-West Hartford). “The governor must sit down with us and work on this plan to reduce unemployment and start growing jobs again.”

The Connecticut Jobs Now plan calls for $1 billion in state bonding to invest in transportation infrastructure, housing, energy conservation, clean water and higher education — an aggressive plan to create jobs, stimulate the Connecticut’s sluggish economy and promote economic recovery.

Connecticut Jobs Now calls for the funding of only those projects that were previously authorized and does not call for the authorization of any new projects; it calls for allocation of those projects that could be implemented within 90 to 120 days. Several state agencies, including the state Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works have already developed project lists that meet the recommended criteria.

The plan could be fully implemented under the authority of the Executive Branch. The coalition pledged its support to maintain the established bonding cap and de-authorize projects as necessary.

Summary of the Connecticut Jobs Now proposal (PDF 746K)

 

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