Dan Haar: Business council rankled over CBIA remaining tolls debate – CT PostBy Blair Morris
September 23, 2019
By Dan Haar
Joseph F. Brennan, president of CBIA, the Connecticut Company and Market Association, states the group has tried to reach an agreement for a position on tolls.
Joseph F. Brennan, president of CBIA, the Connecticut Service and Industry Association, states the group has tried to reach a consensus for a position on tolls.
Image: Brian A. Pounds/ Brian A. Pounds.
Image: Brian A. Pounds/ Brian A. Pounds.
Joseph F. Brennan, president of CBIA, the Connecticut Company and Market Association, states the group has tried to reach a consensus for a position on tolls.
Joseph F. Brennan, president of CBIA, the Connecticut Business and Market Association, says the group has actually attempted to reach an agreement for a position on tolls.
Photo: Brian A. Pounds/ Brian A. Pounds.
It was only a matter of time before the divisive concern of tolls crossed the cultured divide between service groups.
Joe McGee, vice president of policy at the Fairfield County Service Council, an advocate of returning highway tolls, has helped the council program leadership in the pro-tolls motion this year, behind Gov. Ned Lamont’s push.
In Hartford, the Connecticut Company and Industry Association, by contrast, has stated absolutely nothing as an organization. Which does not sit well with McGee.
” You can not have a position on a concern of this value,” stated McGee, a previous state economic development commissioner. “It’s absence of leadership.”
McGee compared the enormity of tolls to the state earnings tax, another dissentious problem that he understands plenty about– he was commissioner when previous Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., another Greenwich scion in the governor’s mansion, pressed the income tax through.
CBIA has attempted tough to reach a position, Joseph Brennan, its president, informed me. “We’ve invested an excessive amount of time, probably more time on this one concern than any otherworking to develop some consensus on a divisive concern.”
Brennan would not discuss McGee’s “absence of leadership” remark. I have actually been around service groups a long period of time and I can’t recall anything like this prior to, however tolls and income taxes just come up every generation or two.
The trouble for CBIA is that it’s the state’s largest company group, declaring 10,00 0 member business. Simply over half its members, 51 percent, have ten or fewer empoloyees, and only 2 percent have more than 300.
To oversimplify, the tolls debate boils down to larger companies and innovation firms leaning for, and Main Street companies leaning against. Business council, with just 300 picked members, tends towards the prominent companies consisting of the well acknowledged banks, law and accounting firms.
So it’s simpler for the council to reach a position. On April 16, 14 association directors and prominent members sent out a pro-tolls letter to leaders of the General Assembly– though there were some holdouts.
CBIA might simply be hopelessly divided, especially if it has, for instance, trucking firms in its roster.
However department in the ranks isn’t a great enough excuse for McGee. He said Chris Bruehl, the council president, has actually talked with Brennan about it straight.
” We’re stating ‘Joe that’s not acceptable,'” McGee stated. “Take a vote.”
It would be fine if, like other groups such as the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, CBIA opposed tolls, McGee stated, or proffered some hybrid solution.
In decades previous, business council– then referred to as the Southwestern Area Chamber and Market Association– backed the effort to remove tolls. And CBIA back in the ’70 s, defended the state earnings tax.
” Whether it supports tolls is not the problem,” McGee said. “You can’t punt … This is as crucial as any tax problem you might potentially think about. You have to have a position.”
It’s an excellent public argument to have– not only tolls vs. no tolls, however how the various service groups must deal with huge issues. At a certain point, CBIA– which functions as an insurance coverage company for numerous of its members– might end up being too huge and varied to have a strong voice, and that matters.
And it’s a tip that engagement suggests engagement, duration.
” We’re continuing to have these discussions, comprehending that the clock is ticking,” Brennan stated. “We’ll certainly let Joe and others understand when a choice is made.”