Herbst: GE leaving Connecticut is bad for Trumbull

First Selectman Tim Herbst
First Selectman Tim Herbst

Trumbull’s First Selectman Tim Herbst said he is worried about the potential impact on Trumbull if General Electric leaves Connecticut.

The CEO of Fairfield-based GE has informed employees in Connecticut that the company is looking for a new home, citing the budget passed by the state legislature.

In a message sent to workers and quoted in reports,GE CEO Jeff Immelt wrote that the budget contains “significant and retroactive tax increases for businesses in the state,” which he said have “serious implications” for GE and other businesses.

Herbst, a Republican, said this is bad news for the town.

“We estimate we have 500 to 1,000 residents working for GE,” Herbst said Friday. “We are intensely concerned about the likelihood of GE leaving Connecticut. That will impact hundreds of Trumbull residents, if they lose their jobs or are forced to relocate.”

Herbst said the impact will also be felt by Trumbull’s largest taxpayer — the Westfield Trumbull mall.

“The tax increases that small business owners in the mall will experience and the tax increases that the mall ownership itself will experience as a result of reporting requirements will discourage additional investment and expansion at Westfield Trumbull,” Herbst said. “As we are poised to begin the Phase 2 expansion of the Trumbull Mall, this type of assault on our largest taxpayer will discourage this investment. The expansion of the Westfield Trumbull Mall would represent an expanded tax base which would help us reduce the tax burden on our residential taxpayers. This adopted budget negatively harms those efforts.”

The First Selectman noted that a special Town Council meeting has been called for next Thursday, June 11 at 8 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers to consider a resolution that would take a vote of no confidence in Governor Malloy and the majority leadership in the Connecticut General Assembly.

“The actions of our state leaders have adversely harmed the residents of Trumbull. Next week, the members of the Town Council have an important decision to make. At the local level, we have an obligation to tell our state leaders that their actions have hurt our residents and our Town, and we have no confidence in their ability to serve the people,” Herbst said.

The scheduled vote has been criticized by some as political posturing. Herbst has been cited as a potential Republican candidate for governor in the future. Connecticut Democrats had a spirited back-and-forth with Herbst this week on Twitter, regarding his call for the meeting.

“Really, Tim? This is what you call 'civility?,” Connecticut Democratic Party Communications Director Leigh Appleby said in an email sent from the party, citing Herbst’s announced civility series. “Is this what the people of Trumbull elected you to do... use your office to try and score cheap political points?"

Appleby noted that The Connecticut Mirror reported that Trumbull will receive $4,640,030 in municipal grants in the new budget.

“If you have no confidence, can we expect you'll give back more than $4 million on behalf of the people of Trumbull? Of course we can't,” Appleby said. “This is nothing more than cheap political posturing.”

Trumbull's Republican Town Committee has mirrored Herbst's sentiments and encouraged residents to attend the June 11 vote.