The General Electric move was bad. It’s been over a year since it happened, and it still hurts. When they left, they took with them more than 6,000 jobs, plenty of tax dollars, and most of the dignity Connecticut had left.
They wanted to stick it to us so hard, they not only bought up another Connecticut-based company, they also donated their former headquarters to Sacred Heart University. Since the school doesn’t pay taxes on that property, it was like more than $30 million in tax revenue disappeared into thin air.
Reflecting on GE’s departure is reflecting on a painful wound for our state that is still pretty fresh. Worse yet, it looks like the salt shaker might be moving in for the burn.
According to The Hartford Courant, insurance giant Aetna has been in talks with Massachusetts officials about a move to Boston.
You read that right: Another company that employs roughly 6,000 works in our state and owns some serious real estate here is looking to cut bait and ship operations north.
I’m not business savvy enough to know how bad this would be, but I’m smart enough to know it wouldn’t be good. At all. Forget losing the tax money (which is bad). Forget losing the jobs (which is worse). The most troubling part of this is the trend.
GE moving was an isolated incident until now. If Aetna finds a way to pull the trigger, it’s officially a movement. Businesses (and big ones, at that) are officially fleeing Connecticut. Massachusetts is winning the future in a very one-sided battle with its neighbor. Connecticut is on the road to being a failed state.
Those are the things that worry me here. If Aetna goes, all of a sudden Connecticut isn’t just adorably and frustratingly mismanaged. It now has a reputation as a state in which businesses (and therefore, employees of those businesses) cannot succeed.
In 2017, that simply won’t cut it. Money, jobs, retirement, and fiscal health are top-of-mind for people everywhere. And if Connecticut is dubbed the place in New England that can’t provide any of that, Aetna leaving will be the least of our worries.