When I talk to families in Connecticut, the need for more good-paying, secure jobs in our state is a constant topic. While our economy is recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unemployment rate is nearing record lows, far too many Connecticut families still have a hard time making ends meet. I believe strongly that no one working full time in America should be living in poverty. That’s why I’m working to pass legislation that helps workers and provides a living wage. I support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, and I’ve introduced legislation like the Workforce Mobility Act and the Schedules That Work Act that are specifically targeted at improving working conditions for hourly employees.
Connecticut has a long, proud history of manufacturing, and I’m working hard to grow manufacturing jobs. I’ve brought back federal funding for job training programs that provide opportunities for the next generation and older workers looking for new careers. I’m also working to fix our Buy American laws to make sure that when we buy helicopters and fighter jets for the military, those products are made in America, not overseas.
The biggest opportunity for job growth in our state is in the high-tech field – Connecticut is still a high labor-cost state, but our top performing education system and high quality of life make us an attractive landing spot for startup companies that require highly educated workers.
That’s why I have worked hard to encourage investment in small, start up companies through so-called “angel investing.” Angel investors help fledgling companies with a small amount of startup money at an early stage of development, often with fewer strings and conditions attached than funding from a bigger venture capital firm. I’ve introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation with Republicans John Thune and Pat Toomey, the Angel Tax Credit Act and the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act; both will incentivize angel investors to put more money into startup companies.
Tax policy can also stimulate high tech jobs. For years, I have fought to make permanent a tax credit for research and development that has been used by hundreds of Connecticut companies to defray their tax obligations when they invest in research. In the budget passed at the end of 2015, this Research and Development Tax Credit was finally made a permanent part of our tax code, resulting in tens of thousands of technology jobs being created around the country.
I fought for a seat on the Senate committee that oversees higher education funding because I want to make sure our federal dollars promote science and technology learning in elementary and secondary school. We need more kids who want to make a career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, and I’m fighting for more federal funding to go into teacher and program development in STEM.