DECD Commissioner David Lehman Joins Chamber Board for Conversation on Economic Development
The Chamber welcomed David Lehman, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development for a discussion with board members about his vision for the state and the region. Mr. Lehman laid out his priorities for making Connecticut a better place to do business and answered questions from board members concerning issues and industries that impact our region.
Mr. Lehman emphasized creating an environment conducive to economic growth, retaining and attracting both businesses and residents. Central to his vision is building up the state’s cities and supporting transportation in response to the rising interest in urban lifestyles. Business incentives previously employed loans and grants, while Mr. Lehman plans an “earn-as-you-go” approach, where employers are rewarded with rebates or tax credits when new jobs are created, removing risk to the state. This approach has been successfully used in several other states, including in Virginia in their deal with Amazon.
As the board and the commission discussed supporting new and existing businesses, Mr. Lehman also noted the importance of making state office interactions easier, including a review of regulations to rethink those that present obstacles to businesses. The commissioner expressed strong support for the tourism industry, understanding that funding promotion of the state as a destination continues to be an issue. Focusing on return on investment, he is looking at how funds are being used in tourism as well as other areas, emphasizing making the most of investments as the state manages under the governor’s debt diet.
The Chamber appreciates Mr. Lehman’s visit to Eastern Connecticut and looks forward to continuing the conversation about economic development that benefits the state and our region.
The Commissioner’s visit to Eastern Connecticut was covered in an article in The Day on May 21, 2019.