Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce
One of Connecticut’s primary industries, especially in the Southeastern part of the state, is tourism. The industry provides revenue to local communities, helps feed state coffers, and provides needed employment for Connecticut residents and students. But when some schools require students to return to the classroom before the traditional end of summer on Labor Day, businesses that support the tourism industry lose a vital source of workers. The Chamber came to Levin and Christ to help find a solution that keeps this workforce intact during the summer and gives students the benefit of extra pay.
Initially, Levin and Christ and the Chamber approached the issue from the standpoint of education and worked with the legislature’s Education Committee to hold a hearing on the subject. However, as their lobbying conversations with elected officials proceeded, they shifted their strategy to approach the issue as one of economic and workforce development. This allowed them to engage the Co-Chairs of the Commerce Committee who were open to creating a Task Force to study the issue. Levin and Christ secured a spot on the Task Force for the Chamber to ensure their seat at the table. Efforts now are focused on engaging the Governor to include the change in his economic development response to the COVID-19 pandemic response.
The work with the Chamber on this issue demonstrates the firm’s ability to look at issues from multiple perspectives and find the best strategy to achieve the goal. Levin and Christ now look to engage local businesses, such as oyster farmers and vineyards to set aside job positions for urban students
The City of Bridgeport has one of the most extreme rates of income inequality in the nation. While its surrounding suburbs and towns may be the home to some of the nation’s richest, its inner-city struggles. Bridgeport Landing sought to provide economic stimulus by revitalizing a 100-acre property on the shore. The plan included replacing an old electric plant with a pedestrian walkway providing access to the water, yacht facilities, a clubhouse and restaurant. However, the organization needed to find a way to finance the project that would encourage investment without creating a loss of state revenue during a budget crisis.
Levin and Christ developed a strategy to use the land itself as capital to back up the cost of the development. This provided confidence that the land could be encumbered by bond holders to ensure the financial security of the project. Levin and Christ crafted legislation to allow this model and successfully lobbied for its passage in the General Assembly. Later legislation also allowed the project owner to eliminate the gross receipts tax so that gas prices for boaters were effectively less in Connecticut than in Rhode Island or New York, while raising tax revenue for Connecticut.
The legislation helped launch the project. Levin and Christ lobbied the Malloy administration to convince them that this was a worthy investment to jumpstart the development of Bridgeport Landing and the Bass Pro store. As a result, the state put up $35 million and Bass Pro has spent three times that on the project to date. In return, the state realized significant tax revenues from the gas sales and the community benefited from the economic development.
Cross Sound Ferry/Thames Ship Yard
Many businesses have made the case over the years that operating in Connecticut is expensive and Cross Sound Ferry (CSF) was no different. CSF came to Levin and Christ seeking to eliminate the gross receipts tax on ferry fuel, arguing that ferries engage in interstate commerce and therefore should not be subject to the tax. The perception among some policy makers was that the ferries were lucrative and not in need of assistance. The challenge for the lobbyists was to persuade legislators that the industry was important not just to Connecticut but also to Rhode Island and New York thus providing them help would benefit the community at large.
Levin and Christ set out to convince lawmakers that this was an economic development necessity, benefitting all Connecticut ferries. The lobbyists took policymakers on a tour of the property and mobilized the Southeastern delegation to act as a voting bloc. They then worked with members of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the General Assembly’s leadership to pass the legislation. Thanks in part to their deep ties in the Southeastern region, Levin and Christ successfully lobbied the passage of the bill, resulting in growth for the ferry industry and CSF.
Connecticut Chapter of LiUNA (Connecticut District of Laborers)
The Connecticut Chapter of LiUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, represents thousands of skilled and experienced Connecticut workers trained to work safely in the construction and energy industries. Levin and Christ have lobbied for many years on important building trade issues such as prevailing wages, project labor agreements and fair contracting practices.
National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association
When faced with four years of legislative proposals that would essentially threaten the ability of lenders to offer reverse mortgages, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association retained Levin and Christ to defend the industry. The Connecticut proposals added many layers of regulatory complication that would have disincentivized consumers from opting into reverse mortgages.
Levin and Christ were able to effectively message the client’s position by acknowledging bad actors in the industry but suggesting that guidelines already enacted by the federal government would alleviate the problem. Their lobbying efforts allowed the client to continue offering reverse mortgages under the federal rules without harming their ability to offer them to Connecticut residents.
Past Client Experience
- Ironworkers Locals 15 & 424
- National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association
- New Haven Terminal (ESOP Longshoreman’s Union Enterprise)
- Lawrence and Memorial Hospital
- Park City Hospital
- Bridgeport Downtown Development District
- New London-Norwich Building Trades
- Carpenters Local 24
- Bridgeport Landing Development
- CT State Police Union
- Yale-New Haven Hospital
- Garde Arts Center
- First Hartford Realty Corporation
- RCI: Hook Realty
- Fire Prevention Coalition: Sprinkler-Fitters Union