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CCM, CBIA & CT AFL-CIO to reconvene economic summit Nov. 14; House Speaker Brendan Sharkey to lead regional policy development at summit

CCM, CBIA & CT AFL-CIO to reconvene economic summit Nov. 14; House Speaker Brendan Sharkey to lead regional policy development at summit

For Release, Friday, Oct. 7

For Further Information

Kevin Maloney (203) 710-3486

In conjunction with its 2016 statewide convention on November 14 and 15, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) and its collaborating partners, CBIA and the CT AFL-CIO, are reconvening the Project B.E.S.T. Summit on Connecticut’s economic future.

The event is set for Monday morning, November 14, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Foxwoods Resort and will again gather a select group of policy leaders and stakeholders across Connecticut from business, labor, education, government, and social services, to further brainstorm on and refine the best pathways to a stronger economic future across Connecticut.

In an effort to further drill into policy proposals initiated last November at the first B.E.S.T Summit meeting, the stakeholders will now work in committees in these areas:

  • Fiscal and Regulatory Environment (Funding Side)
  • Effective and Efficient Services (Delivery Side)
  • Workforce Development

Brendan Sharkey, outgoing Speaker of the House, has agreed to be a key facilitator for the committee on  service delivery. Sharkey was instrumental in reestablishing the MORE (Municipal Opportunities & Regional Efficiencies) Commission.

This second meeting will again be led by Kenya Rutland, principal of KJR Consulting, whose team facilitated the first B.E.S.T economic summit meeting last November.

175-plus Connecticut leaders convened last November in Westbrook for a first-ever economic summit ─ organized by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), and the Connecticut AFL-CIO.

The work of the summit’s participants last November resulted in the recommendation of over 20 key policy proposals for state leaders to consider.

“As one can see from the breadth and range of ideas presented, the 2015 summit achieved its first goal, but our work must now continue,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director. “On the morning of November 14, we will engage these leaders again through these three subcommittees to further refine which issues will be our priority for state leaders in 2017.

“This second meeting is the kick-off event for our 2016 statewide CCM Convention, which will celebrate our 50th anniversary of service to Connecticut cities and towns, and serve as yet another example of CCM being a facilitator of collaboration for the common good,” emphasized DeLong.

Key findings from last November back to top

Here are the key consensus findings from last November that will serve as the launching point for the three committees on the morning of November 14.

Taxes and Regulation

  • Reform the process for the “implementer” bill for the state budget to bring greater transparency and avoid unvetted state law.
  • Establish an advisory council across business, labor, and municipalities to define, create, and report on specific metrics that can assess the best pathways to grow jobs in Connecticut.
  • Create a truly sustainable business environment that attracts jobs, people, and opportunity across all levels.
  • Establish and enforce the discipline needed for the State to live within its fiscal means.
  • Bridge the economic growth and income gap among counties in the State.

Education and Workforce Development

  • Create one coordinated voice to represent educational administrators, teachers, boards of education, and other municipal officials in order to best address and reduce unfunded state mandates.
  • Reformulate the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Grant Program for towns and cities and local public schools to create a more transparent and equitable funding formula.
  • Enhance and expand the work of regional educational service centers to more extensively collaborate with boards of education, chambers of commerce, and teachers.
  • Give priority to community college affordability and strengthen their community college links to high school programs across the State.
  • Better recognize that public education is a direct investment in the Connecticut economy.

Transportation and Infrastructure

  • Establish and maintain a “lock box” to ensure adequate and sustained funding for necessary transportation projects.
  • Prioritize congestion relief when choosing transportation projects to pursue.
  • Apply a cost-benefit analysis, test for pursuing transportation improvements.
  • Ensure regional councils of government (COGs), local governments, and all stakeholders are at the table for all regional infrastructure projects.
  • Better engage the public and create a long-term master transportation plan.

Regional Solutions

  • Provide a clear and streamlined process for consolidation and closing of public schools with inadequate enrollment.
  • Provide towns with municipal-revenue diversification options.
  • Increase financial incentives for municipal service collaboration and provide predictable state financial support.
  • Leverage Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding to incentivize regional education cooperation.
  • Develop regional plans and one common set of regional boundaries based on many state studies already completed.

Quality of Life Matters

  • Use business incentives for workforce development (rather than the workforce doing it, business should provide the training).
  • Collaboration through communication is vital to enhance quality of life; enhance what is already good about Connecticut
  • Fund and clean Brownfields for development.
  • Renew and develop strategic affordable housing plans. ─ Focus on long-term state plan to limit state debt.
  • Reform Connecticut’s tax structure.