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What Connecticut Can Learn From Pfizer’s Decision

Excerpted from (Hartford Courant) - No Surprise, When Jobs Go Packing - by Rick Green:  The goal for Connecticut — land of zero job creation since 1990, according to a new report is that we should never be taken by surprise again when a leading employer dumps us for someone else.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he heard about Pfizer's plan to whack 1,100 Connecticut workers and move hundreds of jobs to Cambridge, Mass., only the evening before the announcement.

"Everybody in the previous administration knew that Pfizer was doing this review," Malloy said. "It's clear this decision was made over a long period of time and a while ago."

Where were our state agencies in charge of economic development? Was anyone in state government making a case that New Haven and Yale might have been a possible location for the 350 neuroscience and cardiovascular research jobs, instead of Cambridge?

"You have to constantly be in touch with people, directly, said Malloy aide Roy Occhiogrosso. … One thing (Malloy) is squarely focused on is sending a signal to the business community that he is serious about getting its fiscal house in order."

"Some things actually do better if there is a concentration and critical mass," said Matthew Nemerson, president of the Connecticut Technology Council. "There are a few places where this 'super agglomeration' is happening. Cambridge is one of those places." Nemerson said that Connecticut must recognize how it can compete with this — an expanded UConn research hospital, and the growing partnership among New Haven, Yale and private research companies, are two important examples.

We're certainly not Boston or Harvard and Cambridge. But New Haven and Yale are dramatically showing us that Connecticut can again be competitive, if we are willing to invest in new research and partnerships between business and our universities.

"We've got a clear niche where we are competitive,'' New Haven Mayor John DeStefano said Thursday. "New Haven's grand list growth this year came in large part from the biosciences and life sciences research that has expanded there. The grand list of taxable property grew by nearly 3 percent over last year, larger than any other municipality in the state. "Our growth demonstrates that New Haven is a desired place for business and development,'' DeStefano said.

That's more than the state of Connecticut can say. 

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