On the heels of the recent announcement that Alexion Pharmaceuticals in New Haven plans to lay off 210 workers, State Representative Jason Perillo (R-113) is joining the growing call for greater oversight of Governor Malloy’s “First Five” Program. Under provisions of the plan, Alexion received $51 million to relocate from Cheshire to New Haven. Perillo, a member of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, says that committee should have greater oversight over such agreements between the state and businesses. A public hearing was held on the bill this afternoon in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
“This news comes right after we learned that ESPN, another recipient of ‘First Five’ funding from the state, will be making layoffs,” said Perillo. “The purpose of these investments was to grow jobs, and since we are losing them, it’s pretty clear that these arrangements aren’t working very effectively. I want to work to create conditions in the state that support all businesses instead of relying on the administration to arbitrarily pick winners and losers – particularly when we now have evidence that they aren’t very good at making those choices.”
Perillo noted that the Department of Economic and Community Development does not have any meaningful data about the success or failure of the “First Five” program. “Without the oversight we are looking to get today, we will never really know if these programs are meeting the expectations we have of them,” added Perillo. “Taxpayers deserve to know if the investment of their money has borne the benefits promised.”
Perillo remarked that similar legislation that passed overwhelmingly last year was vetoed by Governor Malloy, and he expressed a hope that the governor would reconsider his position should this bill pass.
The bill, HB 7264, An Act Requiring Legislative Approval for Financial Assistance to Additional First Five Plus Program Business Development Projects, remains before the Finance Committee and awaits further action there. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly concludes at midnight, Wednesday, June 7, 2017.