Local and state elected officials held a news conference at Waterbury-Oxford Airport Monday to celebrate the creation of an economic development incentive zone intended to bring jobs and tax revenue to the area.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said airports are economic drivers and are integral to the state's overall economic development strategy.
"For too long, our state was not doing enough to incentivize business growth and development in order to create the kinds of communities where business can thrive," he said in a news release. "The creation of this zone will drive business growth in the area, spur economic development and create new jobs in our state.”
There are two business incentives associated with the new enterprise zone, according to the news release. Subject to certain conditions, a five-year, 80 percent abatement of local property taxes on real and personal property; and a 10-year, 25-to-50-percent credit on a portion of the state’s corporation business tax.
Malloy, a Democrat, put out a news release in which he mentioned Connecticut Airport Authority Chair Mary Ellen Jones, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith and "other state and local officials representing the region.”
He noted that the Connecticut Airport Authority approved the creation of the zone in August, while Jones is quoted as saying, “We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with businesses, development partners and other stakeholders at all of our General Aviation Airports. They are an important part of economic recovery in Connecticut.”
DECD Commissioner Smith said, “As a member of CAA’s board, I applaud my colleagues for their support of this opportunity to encourage economic development. With access to I-84, utility infrastructure, and the active interest in the surrounding communities, we anticipate great things happening around Waterbury-Oxford.”
Interestingly, the governor’s news release makes no mention of state Sen. Rob Kane, R-Watertown. The 32nd District representative was instrumental in piecing together a similar bill in 2011 that was approved in both the house and the senate. Malloy, then in his first year as governor, vetoed the bill. Republicans and local officials in the Oxford area and beyond have since criticized him for that decision, saying had the development zone been approved two years ago, jobs could have been created sooner and businesses could have expanded earlier.
On Monday, Kane told Patch, “In the long run, the most important thing is that we start creating jobs in the area.”
“We all know that’s certainly the most important thing with 8 percent state (unemployment rate), and double-digit unemployment rate in greater Waterbury,” Kane said. “That being said, I was a little disappointed that the governor made no mention of myself or state Rep. Dave Labriola (R-Oxford, 131st District) or many others who worked on the proposed legislation. We certainly overcame his veto and got it done working together. Still, I would have expected a little more camaraderie and giving credit where credit is due."
He continued, “In the long run, the most important thing is that it is created, it’s done. The people in my district know how hard I worked for this idea. The ultimate goal is to get people back to work and create some incentive for businesses to grow.”
Naugatuck Mayor Bob Mezzo, a Democrat, agrees that the enterprise zone can be beneficial to the Greater Waterbury area, the Naugatuck Valley and the state in general.
“I think it’s a tremendous boost for our region,” he said. “It gives the area around the Oxford Airport tremendous potential to market itself as a viable location for industry.”
About the Waterbury-Oxford Airport, from the governor’s office:
Located five miles west of Waterbury, the Waterbury-Oxford Airport houses the highest concentration of general aviation activity in the state and provides maintenance, fuel, aircraft storage, and support facilities to meet the demand of corporate jets and single- and multi-engine aircraft. In 2010, the airport contributed more than 2,374 direct and indirect jobs and $235.4 million in economic activity, including $113.9 million of labor income, and $7.9 million in state tax revenues. An estimated 6,500 aircraft used the airport in 2010.
About the Connecticut Airport Authority
The Connecticut Airport Authority is a quasi-public agency, established in 2011 to develop, improve, and operate Bradley international Airport and the state’s five general aviation airports—Danielson, Groton-New London, Hartford-Brainard, Waterbury-Oxford, and Windham. It serves as an economic driver in Connecticut, making the state’s airports more attractive to new routes, new commerce, and new companies. For more information on the Connecticut Airport Authority, visit http://www.ctairports.org/.
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