Gov. Rick Scott returned to Connecticut Monday, reviving his long-dormant strategy of trying to raid jobs from high-tax states that are led by Democratic governors.
It’s a return engagement for Scott, a former resident of Stamford, who visited Connecticut two years ago in search of jobs. Last year, the governor attracted a burst of attention for suggesting that Yale University relocate from New Haven to Florida. Scott has made similar trips to California, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland and Minnesota.
“The business environment in Connecticut simply cannot compete with everything Florida has to offer,” Scott said in a statement. “That is why I am leading an economic development mission to Connecticut to share this message firsthand with job creators and site selectors.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, has some of the lowest poll numbers of any governor in the country. His favorability rating stood at 29 percent in an April Quinnipiac University, whose pollster, Doug Schwartz, told local a news outlet that voters did not like the fact that Malloy raised taxes soon after he took office.
In response to Scott’s trips to the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center in addition to New Canaan, Stamford and Darien, Malloy issued this statement: “If he’s expecting anyone in Connecticut to buy what he’s selling, he’s better off saving his taxpayers the cost of the trip and staying home.” (Note: Scott travels on a personal jet and generally only bills taxpayers for lodging, not transportation costs.)
The governor’s office said Scott brought chief of staff Jackie Schutz Zeckman to Connecticut, but none of his economic development experts joined him. Scott’s schedule did not identify by name any of the CEOs or site selectors he planned to visit.
Hartford-based Aetna, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, reportedly plans to leave Connecticut. When General Electric announced its plans to leave Connecticut a few years ago, Scott urged the company to consider moving to Florida, but GE moved to Greater Boston instead.