fbpx Skip to content

Stay Up to Date!

Zip Code
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Flashback: Lamont Opposes Paid Sick Day Mandate on Small Businesses

Flashback: Lamont Opposes Paid Sick Day Mandate on Small Businesses 

In a striking shift from his earlier position, Gov. Ned Lamont has introduced a bill aimed at expanding the paid sick leave mandate. This new proposal seeks to force all businesses — regardless of size — to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave annually. This move marks a considerable change from Lamont’s 2010 stance, where he argued against the necessity of imposing such mandates on small businesses by the state government.  

In his initial bid for the governorship in 2010 — during the Democrat primary against Gov. Dannel Malloy — Gov. Lamont expressed to CT Mirror his belief that “we deal with sick leave just fine at the small-business level where I live,” indicating skepticism towards governmental intervention by stating, “I’m not sure I need the government stepping in and putting another mandate on businesses like mine.”  

His remarks were made in anticipation of the 2011 legislative session, during which the sick leave bill was slated for debate, due to a push by big labor and the Working Families Party.  

Facing a question about his stance on the paid sick day mandate in the Working Families Party’s candidate questionnaire for the 2010 election, Lamont indicated his willingness to “sign this legislation.” However, he specified that his endorsement would be a version of the bill that imposed the mandate solely on service workers and only for businesses with over 50 employees. 

Joe Abbey, Lamont’s campaign manager, echoed this stance emphasizing that Lamont’s opposition to the mandate was specifically targeted at businesses employing fewer than 50 people. His concern was that the requirement would put Connecticut’s small businesses at a competitive disadvantage. 

“It’s just hard for them to compete,” said Abbey. “We should leave this to the free market.” 

At the time, Lamont was the owner of Lamont Digital Systems, a company delivering telecommunication services to colleges and universities that employed less than 50 individuals. The company did offer paid sick leave to its employees as did 90% of Connecticut businesses when the law went into effect in 2012. 

Despite his reservations about the mandate, Lamont got an endorsement from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 371. Union President Brian Petronella backed Lamont, citing his job creation plan, yet emphasized that employees deserve paid sick leave, promising to “educate Ned on the issue.” 

Malloy emerged victorious in the primary and Lamont subsequently sold his company before successfully winning the governorship in 2018.  

The Connecticut paid sick leave law applies to employers with 50 or more employees limited to “service workers as defined by the federal Bureau of Labor Standard Occupational Classification System. In 2023, the law was expanded to include additional grounds to utilize the paid leave, such as mental health days and provisions for victims or family members affected by family violence and sexual assault. 

Since the new session began on Feb. 7, the Labor and Public Employees Committee has scheduled a public hearing to review three similar bills regarding paid sick days, including bills introduced in both the House and Senate, as well as the Governor’s own bill. 

House Leadership Proposes Leaving Film Tax Credit on the Cutting Room Floor 

A bipartisan bill introduced on Wednesday (Feb. 14) seeks to eliminate the film production tax credits in Connecticut, marking a significant move in the ongoing debate over the program’s economic merits. 

Co-sponsored by House Minority Leader Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) and House Majority Leader Rep. Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford), the proposal seeks to eliminate the credit that has cost taxpayers $1.69 billion from 2007 to 2023, according to the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).  

Connecticut offers a trio of tax incentives aimed at subsidizing multimedia content produced in the state: the film production, digital animation, television and film infrastructure tax credit. It remains unclear whether the bill is attempting to eliminate all three. 

In 2023, the leading recipient of the tax credit included NBC — encompassing NBC Universal, NBC Sports Network and Ventures and NBC Olympics — which secured $38.8 million. The broadcasting station was followed by ESPN with $15.3 million, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) with $15 million, Good Nurse Productions LLC and ITV America, each receiving $8.9 million. 

Since 2007, ESPN has been awarded $262.9 million in total credits; NBC accumulated $202.9 million; and WWE received $198.8 million. However, the now-defunct Blue Sky Studios — previously owned by the Walt Disney Company — received $267.5 million of which, according to state auditors, nearly $50 million was improperly granted due to an overlap in credit categories.  

Blue Sky Studios benefited from both the digital and film production tax credits, a move auditors say was incorrect, arguing that the studio was only entitled to the digital credit, not the film production credit. 

Despite receiving substantial taxpayer support totaling hundreds of millions of dollars over more than a decade, Blue Sky Studios was shut down by Disney just two weeks after it received a $32 million tax credit payment. The shutdown left over 450 employees jobless. 

While proponents of the program emphasize the economic benefits, asserting that the film and television industry contributes essential local spending and employment opportunities within the state, DECD contradicts this viewpoint. 

Former DECD Commissioner David Lehman urged lawmakers to consider capping or reducing the incentive during a joint hearing in 2022 because the program results in a net loss of nearly $60 million in state tax revenue annually, according to the agency’s own study.  

Additionally, in 2023, Jeffrey Beckham, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) was also critical of the program. Beckham submitted testimony last year when the General Assembly was actively considering increasing the credit. He pointed out that the program, having issued $1.2 billion in tax credits between fiscal years 2008 and 2022, was “already one of the most expensive tax credit programs in the state.” 

Furthermore, in its 2018 annual report, DECD highlighted that while the tax credit has led to employment growth, the boost in state revenue fails to compensate for the decrease in state tax revenue attributable to the credits.  

The department suggested further oversight of the program and a potential adjustment of the credit should the negative outcomes continue over time. 

Similarly, a 2019 study by the University of Southerner California (USC) Sol Price School of Policy on film tax credits supports DECD’s observations. It found that while the credits aim to boost local economies and generate employment, they ultimately yield a poor return on investment. 

“The states investing the most in incentives are not getting the return on investment taxpayers deserve, pure and simple,” said Michael Thom, the study’s author emphasized in a press release. “These incentives cost taxpayers billions of dollars, at a time when that money could be directed to other much need public services.” 

The bill sits in the Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding waiting for a public hearing. 

This Week on Yankee’s Podcast Y CT Matters 

The General Assembly’s new legislative session began on Feb. 7. So what’s happened since then? More than you’d expect. Yankee Institute’s Bryce Chinault (Director of External Affairs) and I break down what bills are being introduced and the scuttlebutt at the Capitol. Learn more on YI’s breakdown on bills on our Take Action page, here. 

Click HERE to listen 

Meghan Portfolio

Meghan worked in the private sector for two decades in various roles in management, sales, and project management. She was an intern on a presidential campaign and field organizer in a governor’s race. Meghan, a Connecticut native, joined Yankee Institute in 2019 as the Development Manager. After two years with Yankee, she has moved into the policy space as Yankee’s Manager of Research and Analysis. When she isn’t keeping up with local and current news, she enjoys running–having completed seven marathons–and reading her way through Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *