NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- General Electric (GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt, discontented with Connecticut's plans to raise taxes by what he says will be $1.9 billion statewide, informed workers today that he will consider moving its headquarters out of state.
The announcement may be a bargaining chip to get Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy to reconsider tax increases in the state's $40 billion budget, which was adopted Wednesday after passing on a close vote in both chambers of the Legislature: 19-17 in the Senate and 73-70 in the House. The rate hikes in the spending plan are intended to fund substantial infrastructure projects.
Immelt urged employees to reach out to state legislators with grievances on the "significant and retroactive tax increases," according to a letter to employees obtained by TheStreet. "The passing of this law, despite the concerns we raised, has serious implications for GE, other businesses and for the business climate in Connecticut."
The CEO, who said he's considering both lower taxes rates and fair options for employees, argued that tax increases in Connecticut have made the past decade tough.
"The new taxes will raise more than $1.9 billion," he wrote. "This will be the second-highest tax increase in the state's history behind only the more than $2 billion tax hike passed in 2011.
Taxes have been raised five times since 2011, "while support for our strategies has been uneven," Immelt said. "I believe we should pay our fair share and that all of us should give back to our communities. But, we can compare Connecticut with other states where small and large businesses have a better environment to thrive and compete."