House OKs Bill Helping Small Business

May 3, 2017

Rep. Andy Fleischmann joined his West Hartford colleagues, Reps. Derek Slap and Joe Verrengia, in praising the House for passing legislation they co-sponsored that creates a Small Business Hotline for helping companies needing support or assistance with everyday challenges.

The House voted 141-8 to approve House Bill 5584, An Act Concerning the Creation of a Small Business Hotline.

“Creation of this hotline will make it much easier for new and small businesses to get support for their needs – and help them to grow,” Rep. Fleischmann said.  “Like the Small Business Express program, this will help the main engine of job growth in our state, small businesses.”

According to the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research, “The bill creates a small business hotline that will provide individualized information and guidance to entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to start and develop a business, identify resource networks, and access technical and financial assistance from the state and quasi-public agencies.”

“We heard from homebuilders, small businesses and entrepreneurs that navigating state government red tape and accessing support services can be challenging and time consuming,” said Rep. Slap. “I’m confident this one-stop shop for small businesses will be a valuable tool and is a positive step toward strengthening our economy.”

This bill requires the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) commissioner to establish and operate the hotline.  The commissioner may collaborate with the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to establish and operate the hotline, which must be operated by a person during normal business hours.  The hotline must be funded with existing appropriations and will not require additional state funds.

CERC is a nonprofit organization that provides economic development services to businesses, often in partnership with the state's utilities and state and local economic development agencies.  Its services include providing technical assistance to businesses seeking to start, expand, or relocate to Connecticut.

“This hotline is an excellent way for businesses to receive consistent and reliable information concerning day-to-day operations and specific laws pertaining to their particular business,” Rep. Verrengia said.  “I am looking forward to this measure becoming law and contributing to successful businesses in the state.”

The legislation also requires the commissioner to submit a report on the hotline's operation to the Commerce Committee by January 1, 2019.  The report must describe the hotline's services, summarize the most common types of assistance entrepreneurs and small businesses request, and provide statistics on the hotline's call volume.  This information will help lawmakers develop additional strategies to assist small businesses.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.  Its effective date is Oct. 1, 2017.