Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs & Campus Development Bruce Alexander ’65 has been appointed to Connecticut’s newly formed Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced on Thursday.
The 14-member commission, established in the recently passed state budget, will develop and recommend policies for state revenues, tax structures, spending and debt, among other fiscal issues. The group, which also includes Webster Bank CEO Jim Smith and Chairman and CEO of the Hartford Christopher Swift, is designed to provide input from members of the private sector to help remedy the state’s long-precarious fiscal situation.
Alexander said he will guide the “transportation infrastructure” and “cities” work streams. He has chaired the Transportation Strategy Board, an earlier Connecticut commission. He was appointed to the latter effort for Yale’s work in “revitalizing New Haven,” he added. Other groups will study fiscal stability, economic growth, and competitiveness.
The committee convened for the first time Friday afternoon and will hold public hearings before it submits a report of its findings to Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly by March 1. A legislative committee will then draft legislation to implement the recommendations.
At its first meeting, the committee heard presentations from Connecticut budget director Ben Barnes, Commissioner of Transportation Jim Redeker and Malloy. The focus was transportation and short-term funding shortfalls.
On Oct. 31, the state signed a two-year, $40 billion budget into law, ending a 123-day period standoff, the longest in state history.
In recent years, with the state’s population declining, Connecticut lawmakers have scrambled to revive the state’s economy. Before the budget passed, Hartford, the state’s capital, was on the verge of bankruptcy. And since 2016, two of Connecticut’s largest employers, General Electric and Aetna, announced plans to move to Boston and New York, respectively.
The 11 members appointed to the financial stability committee so far — three more legislative appointments are yet to be announced — will discuss strategies to attract businesses and workers to Connecticut. Smith and Bob Patricelli, the former chair and CEO of Women’s Health USA, will serve as co-chairs. Pat Widlitz, a former state representative and co-chair of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, will serve as vice chair. In a joint statement, Smith, Patricelli and Widlitz said that the committee will seek solutions to guide the budgeting process and make Connecticut more competitive.
“This is a time in the history of our state when leaders, particularly from the private sector, have to get more deeply involved in the process of government to help our elected officials find solutions to Connecticut’s serious fiscal problems,” the statement said.
Alexander, appointed to the commission by state Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, became a vice president at Yale in 1998 after a career in commercial real estate development.
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