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Indiana tries to lure Connecticut firms amid tax controversy

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HARTFORD — The state of Indiana is suggesting three major Connecticut employers that openly criticized planned tax increases consider moving to the Hoosier State.

On Wednesday, Indiana ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal that reaches out to General Electric Co., Aetna Inc. and the Travelers Companies Inc. The ad says Indiana is offering its “support in the wake of Connecticut’s looming tax increase, because friends don’t let friends pay higher taxes.”

State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8th District) told Fox CT of the ad, “‘It’s disheartening that another state would take out an ad in a nationwide publication.”

Joe Brennan of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association said other states also contacted those companies since the General Assembly passed a Democratic budget last week.

On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also reached out to GE, this time on Twitter:

The CEO of GE, Jeffrey R. Immelt, even sent a letter to all 5,700 employees in Connecticut to inform them that “I have assembled an exploratory team to look into the company’s options to relocate corporate HQ to another state with a more pro-business environment.”

Brennan said he hopes to meet with Gov. Dan Malloy this week to discuss the tax situation.

A Malloy spokesman said Connecticut has one of the lowest corporate tax rates. Devon Puglia, the media relations director for the governor’s office, released the following statement:

Let’s be very clear – Connecticut has one of the lowest  –  one of the lowest – effective corporate tax rates in America, hovering around North Carolina. While we’ve grown more than 75,000 jobs over the past several years, Indiana’s focus is on passing laws that discriminate against sexual orientation. While we have one of the most attractive corporate tax structures in America, Indiana passes some of the most discriminatory laws in the nation. That’s ultimately the contrast we’re talking about here.