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Talking Points

Why are so many business giants leaving Conn.?

Alexion Pharmaceuticals is leaving its New Haven home for Boston.Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/file 2015/Sipa USA

Will the last big public company out the door please turn off the lights?

Connecticut isn’t an economic wasteland. Far from it.

But it’s hard not to feel like the Nutmeg State is flirting with financial disaster as big corporate names head for the exits. GE, Aetna, now Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

Sure, each of these three giants is leaving substantial numbers of employees behind. But GE and Alexion picked Boston and Aetna chose Manhattan for their new headquarters. They’re chasing talented workers who want to live in urban areas and work in clusters packed with other leading businesses in their respective fields.


Connecticut’s political leaders might not be able to control whether their state offers a hip, walkable city — Alexion’s New Haven home might be the state’s best bet — but they can get their fiscal house in order. And yet, here we are, more than two months into the new fiscal year, without a state budget in place.

Year after year, these sagas play out in Hartford. Aetna and GE raised the state’s fiscal issues as a reason they began to look elsewhere. Alexion didn’t focus on this in its announcement today, but the General Assembly’s unfinished business looms large.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association’s latest sentiment poll, released last week, shows uncertainty surrounding legislative decision-making as the No. 2 issue hampering business growth, after the state’s high cost of living. This concern isn’t new — the ranking is similar to what respondents said a year ago.

Alexion’s departure might not be related to the budget quagmire. But it still should be a painful reminder to state leaders to fix the issues that they can control.

Jon Chesto can be reached at and on Twitter @jonchesto.