Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he is "prospecting" for business at an international conference in Switzerland so that companies can bring their operations to Connecticut.
Malloy is spending several days in snow-covered Davos, where the community was hit with the most snow in 70 years.
The Connecticut governor has spent time with Yale University president Richard Levin at a conference attended by about 2,500 movers and shakers from around the world. That includes about 40 heads of state, including the prime minister of Turkey and German chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel delivered a key opening speech, which Malloy described as "perhaps the frankest discussion she's had on the difficulties with the euro.''
Since Europe is the top trading partner with Connecticut, its overall financial health is important back home in the Nutmeg State.
"If Europe could rebound, it would be helpful to our economy as well,'' Malloy said on a conference call with more than 10 reporters, as well as his legal counsel and spokesman.
When asked about the comments by East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, Malloy said, "It was pretty boneheaded.''
Maturo has been in the news constantly this week regarding the arrest of four officers in his town after the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office brought charges about racial discrimination of Latinos. When asked what he would do for the Latino community, Maturo told a reporter from WPIX television in New York City that would go out and have tacos for dinner.
In his search for business to come to Connecticut, Malloy said he spoke to executives from companies in the fields of financial services, technology, energy, and alternative energy. He also saw the president of Aetna, whose office is essentially within walking distance of Malloy's in Hartford. He said he was hoping the various companies "will now consider Connecticut'' in future moves.
While Malloy was away, the state legislature's non-partisan fiscal office reported on Wednesday night that the state budget deficit had grown to a projected $145 million in the current fiscal year that ends June 30. The nonpartisan staff said that the state is spending more money than expected and collecting less tax revenues than projected. But Malloy could not agree with the nonpartisan analysis.
"Honestly, I think they have it wrong,'' Malloy told reporters on the conference call. "Bottom line, we'll have a balanced budget.''
Malloy said the state was saving millions in personnel costs because of a salary freeze and a high number of retirements of state employees.
Republicans have complained that Malloy's fiscal strategy is flawed because he enacted the largest tax increase in Connecticut history and the state is still facing a deficit.
"After passing the largest tax increase in state history, Democrats have still managed to spend us into deficit,'' Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield said Wednesday night. "Among other things, today's projections confirm that the labor deal Governor Malloy cut with state employee unions will not yield the savings he promised taxpayers. Now Governor Malloy has a $145 million budget hole - $220 million if he intends to keep his promise to comply with GAAP - and only $32 million worth of ideas to fill it. His math simply doesn't add up. It's time to go back to the table and discuss real spending reductions to protect Connecticut's economic future.''
But Malloy told reporters on the conference call that McKinney was off base.
"Senator McKinney is the same Senator McKinney who has been wrong on other subjects, and he's wrong on this,'' Malloy said. "Senator McKinney can say what he wants to say. ... Let's be honest. They're unhappy that we're doing as well as we are. They're unhappy that jobs grew. Do you really expect them to endorse me?''Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun