Reports: Georgia, Florida vying for GE headquarters

General Electric threatened to leave Connecticut due to higher business taxes in the new state budget.

General Electric threatened to leave Connecticut due to higher business taxes in the new state budget. (6/9/15)

FAIRFIELD - Reports indicate that Georgia and Florida may be trying to lure General Electric's corporate headquarters away from Fairfield.

The corporation threatened to leave Connecticut last week due to higher business taxes in the new state budget.

The Georgia governor's office tells News 12 that it will be making a play to pull GE out of Fairfield. Media reports out of Tampa Bay, Florida also say that the Sunshine State will be making a bid for the headquarters.

Gov. Dannel Malloy says he spoke with GE executives as recently as Monday and feels confident that the company and the state can reach a compromise on tax issues.

GE pays nearly $2 million in local taxes a year, and business experts say the governor should take the threat to leave seriously.

But Malloy downplayed the notion. "Everybody lays the red carpet out for everybody else," Malloy says. "I've been to other states and reached out to companies in those states."

On top of taxes, GE donates millions to local charities, according to Don Gibson, dean of Fairfield University's business school. But while other states might offer lower taxes, Gibson says Connecticut offers a young workforce and proximity to both New York City and Boston.

GE is currently selling off its loan division based in Norwalk. Malloy says GE wants to avoid taxes on the profits of that sale.

"I get that," Malloy says. "We're willing to work with GE to keep them here in Connecticut."

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