HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A first-of-its-kind investor conference kicked off in Hartford Tuesday morning, where top state officials pitched Connecticut as a good investment to bankers and analysts.
“The exciting projects we have upcoming and underway, and the undeniable progress we’ve made in stabilizing and strengthening our state’s economy and finances,” Connecticut State Treasurer Erick Russell told the crowd.
The Democrat is a former bond attorney, and in a few days, his office will oversee the issuance of $710 million in bonds. That’s why he is hosting the first-ever Connecticut Investor Conference.
“Connecticut is on the rise,” Russell said. “In recent years, we have filled our rainy-day fund to capacity, erased our pension debt, and generated record surpluses.”
Not that long ago, Connecticut was not seen as a great investment. Recent so-called “fiscal guardrails” have helped with financial volatility and paid down unfunded pension debt.
“Unlike New York City, which is facing deficits, we have our fifth balanced budget in a row, and we’ve got another year with surpluses,” said Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.).
Now that the state does not have to worry about “lurching from crisis to crisis,” as Lamont put it, the question is, what’s next? Where should that investment be happening?
The Connecticut Green Bank thinks it should be in things that benefit the environment.
“We’re seeing great demand for jobs. We’re seeing investment increasing. Every time we put an investment opportunity out there, it sells out,” said Rudy Sturk, associate director of marketing and management for Connecticut Green Bank.
They use public money to entice private investment. That’s just how state bonds help pay for things like transportation and housing, and help build New Haven into a bioscience hub.
“I think life science is a big piece of our future,” Lamont said. “Love Cambridge, love Kendall Square, but Connecticut is about 30% less expensive with a pretty good workforce, pretty good ecosystem and we work together very closely.”The state hopes this conference helps it work together with even more investors.