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Senate leader says GE may be using budget as layoff cover, GE denies claim

General Electric President Jeff Immelt said in an email to employees today that as a result of the budget's passage, he has assembled an exploratory team to look into the company's options to relocate corporate headquarters to another state with a more pro-business environment.  Immelt said this will be a thoughtful process which will take many factors, especially employee impact, into consideration. 


Immelt cited GE's purchase of $14 billion in goods and services from Connecticut companies, and being a major employer in the state.  He continued by saying that after a lot of thought, and in context of the company's ability to be competitive, this step is being considered. 


Immelt encouraged employees to express their concerns to state lawmakers with a link included in his email to a legislator finder tool.


The Fairfield-based corporation took the rare step of criticizing a state budget proposalTuesday calling the proposed tax increase "truly discouraging." 


The company employs 5,700 in Connecticut, and says retroactively raising taxes makes businesses and residents "seriously consider whether it makes any sense" to stay.


Ridgefield Representative John Frey recalled a phone conversation about whether the Office of Fiscal Analysis factored in if there will be less jobs in Connecticut.  The CFO of GE is one of Frey's constituents, who called Sunday, saying the Fairfield-based company might reconsider calling Connecticut home.


Frey says New York officials were in touch with GE on Monday.


General Electric says the idea that it has been planning layoffs in Connecticut and plans to use the state's just-passed budget as "cover" is completely untrue.


State Senate President Martin Looney made that assertion Thursday morning, hours after the Legislature passed a two-year, $40 billion budget that had been criticized by Connecticut-based employers including General Electric Co. and Aetna Inc.  Looney, says state business taxes are quite moderate and that companies are likely to benefit from some of the budget's provisions, including a reduction in car taxes.


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