Want young entrepreneurs in CT? Give them reasons to stay

By State Rep. Christopher Davis & State Sen. Art Linares
Region - posted Mon., Mar. 18, 2013
State Sen. Art Linares (R-33). - Contributed Photo

We have world-class public and private universities in Connecticut. We also have tremendous health training and technical schools.

But for a variety of reasons, Connecticut loses more people between the ages of 18 and 34 than almost any other state.  They move to New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C.  Many also head to states where the cost of living is lower.

We are two legislators from different parts of Connecticut.  We are both in our 20s.  We have chosen to live and work in Connecticut because we love this state.

Many of the young professionals we went to school with have left the state to pursue their dreams.  We view this as a major problem that we must start chipping away at now in order to help turn our economy around.  One way to go about that is creating incentives to get more graduates to remain in Connecticut and contributing to the state’s economy.

We are proposing to change state law to provide an incentive for students who graduate from Connecticut colleges or technical schools to establish a new business in the state. Under our proposal, students who graduate from colleges or technical schools in Connecticut after Jan. 1, 2014, may deposit up to $2,500 of their annual income tax liability into a “Learn Here, Live Here” account. For up to 10 years after graduation, that money may be withdrawn by a participant for the establishment of a new business in the state.

The state of Maine has a similar program which has been effective in curbing the “brain drain” in the Pine Tree State.  In addition, Connecticut has found success in creating similar incentives for first-time home buyers.  Why not try it with start-up businesses to encourage entrepreneurship? We think this would be a great way to encourage young people to stay in Connecticut, to put their educations and skills to work right here, and to create private sector jobs in the process.

It would also send a great message to young people that yes, Connecticut really is “open for business.” We can show them, through our actions, that we want graduates to live, work, and raise their families here.

Of course, our bill is just one small step on the long journey to making our state more business friendly, but it’s a step in the right direction. We feel that burdensome taxes, like the state’s $250 business entity tax, should be targeted for elimination and reduction.

When we tour small businesses and manufacturers in our respective districts, the stories we hear are the same.  The stories are consistently about the many hurdles that business owners face each day.  It’s time state government started removing those hurdles.  Getting out of businesses’ way, combined with incentives for businesses to stay, is a recipe for long-term job growth.

Our goal is to not only slow down the Connecticut brain drain, but to reverse it.  Want Connecticut graduates to stay? Let’s start providing them with great reasons to stay.


• State Rep. Christopher Davis (R), 26, is a realtor from Ellington. He represents the 57th House District, which includes East Windsor and Ellington.

• State Sen. Art Linares (R), 24, is an entrepreneur from Westbrook. He represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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