Gov's 'First Five' program may undergo major changes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gov's 'First Five' program may undergo major changes

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Alexion Pharmaceuticals recently announced layoffs despite being part of the governor's "First Five" incentives program. (WFSB photo) Alexion Pharmaceuticals recently announced layoffs despite being part of the governor's "First Five" incentives program. (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The governor's First Five Plus program may soon see some big changes after critics claim companies are using the state for tax breaks and cutting jobs.

Republican lawmakers said they are furious over millions of dollars in tax incentives that they feel in some cases are being wasted.

A hearing is scheduled at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford and is set for noon on Friday.

Republicans cited two recent examples, including Alexion Pharmaceuticals and ESPN.

Alexion moved into a new $100 million building last year with plans to add hundreds of jobs.

It was a member of Gov. Dannel Malloy's program, which grants tax incentives to promote both business and job expansion. The program was signed into law in 2011.

Now, lawmakers said it is slashing jobs.

Reports said it was laying off 200 employees.

The company defended the decision by calling it a restructuring to help with sustainable long term growth.

ESPN recently announced a fresh round of layoffs for a company that has been shedding jobs for several years.

There are 13 first five companies that have garnered $125 million in tax credits.

Some local Republicans said the vetting process for the program needs to be retooled.

A bill under legislative review would add a layer of oversight. It calls for increased reporting with the number of jobs created and impact on the state's economy.

Malloy released a statement in answer to the program's criticism.

"While some may call for pulling the rug out from under our major employers in attempt to score political points, we will continue to focus on strengthening our economy by providing greater stability and predictability for businesses throughout the state," he said.

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