General Electric’s, Aetna’s fury over proposed Connecticut tax hikes is Tampa Bay’s opportunity

June 4, 2015

Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, Tampa Bay Business Journal
Fed up with tax hikes, corporate giants General Electric and Aetna have threatened Connecticut lawmakers that they could move their corporate headquarters out of the state if their budget passes as proposed.
“Reports that Connecticut officials intend to raise taxes by another $750 million dollars are truly discouraging,” General Electric (NYSE: GE) said in a statement. “Retroactively raising taxes again on Connecticut’s residents, businesses and services makes businesses, including our own, and citizens seriously consider whether it makes any sense to continue to be located in this state. ”
Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) released a similar statement, according to NBC Connecticut: “Connecticut is in danger of damaging its economic future by failing to address its budget obligation in a responsible way. Such an action will result in Aetna looking to reconsider the viability of continuing major operations in the state.”
The news couldn’t come at a better time for Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s real estate team, Strategic Property Partners, is actively looking to lure a corporate headquarters to downtown Tampa as an anchor for Vinik’s mixed-use, billion-dollar district.
The Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. has also publicly declared a mission of winning a corporate headquarters relocation.
“The statement by General Electric and Aetna just affirms the great opportunity we have in Tampa Bay to attract headquarters from the Northeast,” Rick Homans, president and CEO of the EDC, said in a statement.
“We’re business friendly, have a great labor force, competitive tax structure and we offer a quality of life that Connecticut can’t come close to beating, especially from November through April. We will be watching closely what happens in Connecticut and engaging with GE and Aetna as appropriate.”