Malloy warmly received by business community
One of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s several visits to Litchfield County since being elected less than a year ago came Tuesday, July 19, at the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce’s Torrington offices. Despite all the bellyaching that goes on in closed circles about the governor’s decision to raise certain taxes and fees, Malloy received a warm welcome, and the outpouring of friendliness was more than just lip service.During Malloy’s 90-minute visit, he fielded a couple of easy questions from Litchfield County merchants who are still not pleased with the paid sick leave bill that he signed into law this month, but the rest of the meeting was a candid and friendly exchange of positive ideas. If you asked anyone at the chamber if he or she was happy to see the governor that day, the response would have been yes.One of the finer moments of the day came when former New Hartford Selectman Bill Baxter addressed the governor to offer some words of encouragement. Baxter noted that the state’s problems are not the fault of one person at the top, but all of us who live in Connecticut. “In a democracy, at the lowest level, we have the chance to change things, but we let things slide,” he said. “We kicked the can down the road.” Baxter congratulated the governor for making some hard decisions and encouraged Malloy to stay focused on economic development projects like the revitalization of downtown Torrington and the surrounding area. “Let’s get on with it,” he said. “We’ve done the hard things. Let’s start talking positively about the things we can do.”Yes, the governor is still locked in a battle with state union employees regarding concessions, with widespread layoffs looming as the undesirable alternative, and yes, Connecticut still has a number of hurdles to jump before we are seen as one of the most innovative and business-friendly states in the country. But we’re also one of the most beautiful, intelligent and closely-knit states in the country. There is a way of life here that local companies enjoy just as much as their residential neighbors, and that’s why we stay here. In short, this is not New Jersey.So, the complainers can keep griping about the few extra dollars it’s going to cost to help bring the state’s budget back into the black, but the bellyaching isn’t going to result in any positive changes. The real work is being done by people who recognize that the state needs to settle its debts and balance the books before we can make significant progress. Members of the Northwest Chamber know that, and that’s why they gave the governor such a warm reception this week.