Insurance giant Aetna is in talks with several states to moves its headquarters out of Hartford, Connecticut, where it’s been since the 1800s.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says he’s had multiple conversations with senior leaders at the company and he believes they decided to leave a long time ago. The Democratic mayor called the move a hard blow and said the state needs fiscally sound, culturally vibrant metropolitan areas to attract and keep companies.
Bronin says Aetna will keep thousands of employees at what he called its Hartford base.
Len Fasano, the Republican leader in the state Senate, says tax breaks or other incentives wouldn’t do much to keep Aetna in Hartford if the state couldn’t make its fiscal situation better.
“I don’t know what we could have brought to the table to keep them here. You know, giving money to businesses to stay here is just artificial resuscitation until the next crisis comes about.”
Fasano says GE, who left Connecticut for Boston last year, considered the state’s incentives only a short-term fix.
“That’s why they said bailing me out, GE, is not the answer. You need to help the businesses around me that are struggling, and you need to get control over your long-term debt. And if you’re not going to take those serious steps, then we have to go.”
Aetna employs about 6,000 workers in Connecticut. It’s been based in Hartford for more than 200 years. In March, Aetna and two other Hartford companies committed a total of $10 million a year over the next five years to help the city, which is facing bankruptcy.