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"Connecticut 500" Sets a Path for the State's Next 25 Years

Chion Wolf
Rep. William Tong.

The legislature has set lofty new goals for the state to create private sector jobs and boost its population.

The recently passed budget implementer bill contained almost 300 pages full of diverse provisions.

Buried in the middle of them, a bold plan for the next quarter century that calls on Connecticut to increase employment by 500,000 jobs, increase its population by 500,000 new residents, and create 500 new start-up companies.

The provisions also call for an increase of 500 students in the number of annual graduates from each state college and university, and a goal of national "top five" status in the areas of economic growth, public education, quality of life, and private-sector employee salary.

“This is an effort to reassert Connecticut as one of the strongest economies in the nation and in the world,” said Representative William Tong, the plan's principal author. He's co-chair of the state’s Commission on Economic Competitiveness, and said this new Connecticut 500 Project comes directly out of the work of the commission.

"We need to create a platform where the business community and senior business leaders are continuously focused on a goal and leading the effort along with public sector leadership, and also community leadership," he said. "Connecticut 500 is a platform for that."

Tong said the project is modeled after similar efforts in states like New York, Minnesota, and Ohio, and one of its centerpieces will likely be to move away from Connecticut’s traditional suburban strategy, focusing instead on building population and business vitality in its urban cores.

The commission will continue to flesh out the Connecticut 500 Project, and look to hire a private consultant to take the plan forward.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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