Small Business Legislation
Applications for Financial Assistance for Financial Aid from Connecticut Innovations Incorporated
This legislation helps to expedite the process for small businesses to get financial assistance from Connecticut Innovations. Approval for loans of $150,000 or less can now be delegated to the staff of Connecticut Innovations rather than the board, as long as the staff processes the loans in accordance with CI’s written procedures. This gives the board to ability to focus on larger loans while making it easier for small businesses to get the assistance they need, when they need it. PA 13-115
Encouraging the Exportation of State Products and Services Through the Small Business Express Program
Small businesses face many challenges and barriers when attempting to enter foreign markets. Finding potential customers in these markets, identifying target segments and creating price and sales strategies are all costly for Connecticut’s small businesses. This law gives the Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) the ability to give priority for Small Business Express funding to businesses that attempt to export products and services to foreign markets. This legislation will have a synergistic effect as it allows more Connecticut businesses to get involved in exporting and creates another funding source for a small business looking to expand into international markets. PA 13-56
Making Manufacturing Assistance Act Funds Available for the Small Business Express Program
This legislation creates jobs by helping small businesses in the state through the Small Business Express program implemented in the special session of June 2012. It adds money to the Small Business Express program that provides loans and matching grants to businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Funds were moved from the Manufacturing Assistance Act program into the Small Business Express account so that more funds will be available for this very successful program that has helped many small businesses in the state to create jobs. PA 13-2
Creating a Better Working Relationship between State Agencies and CT’s Small Businesses
This legislation grants more discretion to the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services by raising the penalty over which the commissioner has discretion to $1,000. This removes the onerous regulatory process for proposed fines of under $1,000. In making these changes this law creates a better regulatory environment and a better working relationship between state agencies and small businesses in Connecticut. The law also prevents the issuance or renewal of certain permits and licenses by the Department of Revenue Services to anyone who owes state taxes for which all administrative and judicial remedies have expired or been exhausted. PA 13-150
Helping Small Businesses Hire with STEP-Up
We have worked hard in the last few sessions to implement programs like STEP-Up to Connecticut residents find good jobs.
Step-Up events provide small business owners with information about state incentives to hire as well as train workers, better preparing them for work. Businesses may receive subsidies for hiring long-term unemployed workers and veterans returning to the workforce after deployment. Over 2,000 unemployed residents have been hired under Step-Up so far. Every Step-Up event held so far in Connecticut has been well-attended, exceeding initial expectations. PA 14-98
Helping Companies Do Well and Do Good
Many college grads these days want to work for companies with a greater social purpose than simply turning a profit. To attract these young people and to encourage businesses to “do good as they do well,” Connecticut became the 18th state to pass legislation establishing Social Enterprise Businesses - “B Corps” - as an alternative business model. These are a hybrid between the traditional for-profit model and non-profit model. They operate like traditional corporations but must have the purpose of creating a material, positive impact on society and the environment stated in their articles of incorporation. SB 23 - In Implementer §140-154
The Connecticut Aerospace Reinvestment Act
Connecticut has a long and proud tradition in the aerospace manufacturing industry. This year we worked to foster this industry further by working with United Technologies Corp. (UTC) to allow the company and its subsidiaries in Connecticut to use tax credits it has already earned. The law limits how many can be redeemed in any one year and also limits the program to fourteen years. UTC has committed to use these credits to upgrade and expand its current facilities and to invest in research and development. Certain investment and staffing level benchmarks must be met in order to use the credits. These credits will bring more high paying jobs to Connecticut and property taxes to our municipalities. It will not only maintain UTC jobs, but will impact all of the small businesses that serve as direct suppliers to UTC. In addition, science and engineering graduates will be able to find exciting work right here in Connecticut. PA 14-2
Supporting Businesses to Grow and Train Workers
Small manufacturers in Connecticut are an important source of jobs and the engine of economic growth. We work hard to provide support to these businesses through programs like the Manufacturing Reinvestment Account program (MRA). The MRA is designed to help small manufacturers fund capital investments and train their workers. This year, we made it easier for businesses to take advantage of the program by increasing the number of employees an employer may have to be eligible for the program from 50 to 150. PA 14-69
Increasing Access to Commercial Kitchens
Some of our local food producers have difficulty in getting the commercial kitchen space that they need to help their businesses expand. In order to better understand how to help these small businesses, we required that the Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development study kitchen incubator programs that have been created in New Jersey, New York and Vermont and report the findings to the Commerce and Higher Education Committees by January 1, 2015. SA 14-16
Innovation Places –concentrates nodes of entrepreneurs, tech talent, support organizations and research institutions in walkable, transit-connected, mixed-use neighborhoods.
Entrepreneur Support Programs – provides $5 million a year to support a range of needs for entrepreneurs, such as residencies, coworking space and mentoring.
Added Support for Growing Small Businesses - $1 million a year for 5 years to support firms that have made it past the startup phase, and mature companies that have plateaued but have the potential to grow.
University Innovation Ecosystems - $10 million of seed funding to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems at all of Connecticut’s colleges and universities, public and private.
Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit Program
Connecticut in Forbes’ 2015 ranking of “Best States for Businesses,” sadly ranks 39th. In an effort to improve Connecticut’s business ranking and better appeal to entrepreneurial start-ups, particularly in the area of information services, biotechnology and green technology businesses, the legislature passed a bill that will establish an Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit pilot program.
Senate Bill 303 tasks Connecticut Innovations, the leading source for financing and the support of innovative and growing companies in our state, with the formation of an Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit. The permit will allow first-time business owners to receive reimbursement for the initial costs associated with starting up a business including state filing fees, and permitting or licensing fees.
First-time business owners interested in the program are encouraged to apply to Connecticut Innovations. SA 16-1
Supporting Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
In order to help our veterans who own micro businesses, we passed legislation that will give a price preference of up to 15% for veteran-owned micro businesses for certain Department of Administrative Services open market orders or contracts. A micro business is a business with gross revenue of up to $3 million. Veterans who start a micro business will be offered some business tax relief for the first tax year after they’re established. For a business to be considered veteran-owned, 51% of it must be owned by a veteran. PA 16-184
Consumer Collection Agencies And Debt Collection Actions
This bill covers many areas:
It makes changes to the state’s foreclosure mediation program and to the foreclosure statutes by making the process more consumer-friendly in various ways. Most significantly, it allows divorced couples to undergo separate foreclosure mediation sessions.
It allows individuals to obtain their possessions from repossessed vehicles and makes changes to state law regarding auto loans by requiring greater transparency during that process.
In the interest of promoting economic development by enhancing minority communities’ access to small business loans, this bill also requires the Banking Commissioner to designate three development zones known as “Martin Luther King, Jr. Corridors”.
To ensure that all Connecticut residents have access to auto loans, this legislation requires that auto sales be documented, including the amounts of loan percentages offered, the names of the applicants, their credit score, race, ethnicity and gender.
Lastly, this bill requires that small loans be capped at a maximum of 36% APR to protect consumers from predatory lending practices. PA 16-65