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Malloy Defends Borrowing for Bass Pro Shops

Jeff Cohen

Governor Dannel Malloy on Friday defended state borrowing that will help finance the opening of Bass Pro Shops at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport. The state will invest more than $30 million to bring the sporting goods retailer to anchor the long-delayed commercial development.

"It's important to get this operation up and running," Malloy said, "[and] to begin the pay-back of the investment that has previously been made at Steelpointe -- both by local government, and under the administrations of my predecessors' state government. Finally, we're in a position to move toward construction of what will be a regional attraction."

The borrowing was approved Friday by the state bond commission, but it's been highly controversial. Some legislators feel the state shouldn't be borrowing to invest in retail. Others are disturbed that the money is going to bring in a company that will sell guns.

Malloy brushed aside that objection. "We highly regulate gun purchases and usage in the state of Connecticut," he said, "and companies are expected to live within that framework." Malloy is also facing criticism about his overall level of bonded debt. The state has now all but reached the self-imposed borrowing limit that the Malloy administration set for itself this year.