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Indiana, Connecticut battle over jobs, RFRA

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Connecticut is an economic development target for the state of Indiana.

It’s the latest episode in a growing battle between the two states that has its roots in taxes and RFRA.

A full page ad in the Wall Street Journal paid for by the state of Indiana names three Connecticut companies because, it says, “friends don’t let friends pay higher taxes.”

The companies, Aetna, GE, and Travelers, all publicly opposed recent tax hikes.

“They’re experiencing significant economic harm,” said Chris Cotterill of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, “and why not direct our attention to them specifically.”

Connecticut politicians are on the defensive.

“They have wonderful, good employees in the state of Connecticut,” said Governor Dannell Malloy of GE.

“We want those jobs to stay in Connecticut,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Worth noting is the fact that Connecticut banned state travel to Indiana during the RFRA controversy and Governor Malloy said this about Mike Pence:

“When you see a bigot you have to call him on it. When it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

And RFRA is the reason why Indiana Democrats are attacking the Wall Street Journal ad.

“The governor continues to spend money to fix a reputation and an economic panic that he caused for Hoosiers,” said state Democratic Chairman John Zody.

But the Pence Administration says this is part of an ongoing strategy and nothing new.

“The response has just been fantastic,” said Cotterill. “People are talking even more about Indiana’s low cost of doing business, low regulation and it’s gotten the response that we wanted.”

And Mike Pence has written letters to chief executives of all three companies asking them to consider doing business in Indiana.

The Wall Street Journal ad was paid for with money from the marketing budget for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. It is not a part of the $2 million being spent to repair Indiana’s reputation as a result of RFRA.