Malloy's Executive Order Creates Economic Assistance Database
McQuaid, Hugh, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy took executive action Tuesday to enact a proposal by Comptroller Kevin Lembo to develop a searchable database of the state's economic assistance programs.Lembo pushed lawmakers this year to pass legislation requiring the state to allow easy public access to data on the hundreds of millions of dollars the state spends each year on tax credits and forgivable loan programs for companies promising to create jobs in Connecticut.
Since 2011, the state has given more than $475 million in economic assistance to 1,114 companies, according to numbers provided by the administration Tuesday. That does not include tax credit assistance.Although the state House unanimously passed a version of the bill, the Senate did not take action on the proposal before the end of the legislative session. Lembo said he would continue to push the Malloy administration to use its authority to require disclosure of economic assistance data.
Malloy signed the executive order calling for the database at Salamander Designs, a Bloomfield furniture manufacturer that has received state assistance to hire six additional workers. The order requires the Economic and Community Development Department and Revenue Services Department to establish the site by March 31.
"Taxpayers have a right to know what their state is doing to promote economic development and job creation," he said. "And they should have easy access."
Lembo called the executive order a "significant step toward open government." He said making more information available also gives academics the opportunity to asses the economic impact of the state's assistance programs. The comptroller said he hoped to build on the order to make more government data available to Connecticut residents."For government, transparency is a value in and of itself. Transparency that leads to accountability, leads to positive change, which ultimately leads to increased constituent confidence in their government," he said.
Malloy said he had supported the legislation approved by the House and thought it was important to accomplish its goals through executive order. "I felt that we needed to get this done and Kevin (Lembo) agreed. I'm happy that this day has arrived," he said.
However, during the legislative session the proposal did get some pushback from Malloy's administration. Both his budget chief, Benjamin Barnes, and his Economic and Community Development Department Commissioner Catherine Smith testified against the bill when it had a public hearing before the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee in March. …