HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Chris Murphy released their annual survey Wednesday of Connecticut manufacturers, showing optimism about the companies' futures but concerns about health care costs and the slow economy.
About half of the 191 companies that responded said they have plans to expand in the coming year and 52 percent said they expect to see an increase in gross revenues. But 78 percent ranked the cost of providing health care coverage to employees as their top concern. Government regulations, lack of consumer demand and increased competition from foreign firms also ranked high.
There are approximately 5,000 manufacturers in the state.
Murphy, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, faced immediate criticism from his Republican opponent, former wrestling executive Linda McMahon. The GOP candidate's campaign sent reporters an email calling Wednesday's event a stunt and criticized Murphy for not passing his "Buy American" legislation, which is a key hallmark of his campaign.
"During his nearly 14-year political career, Chris Murphy has done a lot of talking, but hasn't really accomplished much of anything," said McMahon campaign manager Corry Bliss.
Murphy said he questions whether McMahon supports the concept of encouraging federal purchases from U.S. companies.
"Is she criticizing me because she opposes it, or because she's trying to score political points?" Murphy asked.
He defended how long it has taken to pursue the legislation.
"We're trying to turn around 20 years of off-shoring of government work. That doesn't get done in two years alone," he said. "We have a lot of work to do in order to convince the Department of Defense and federal contracting agencies that they should start giving preference again to U.S. companies."
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