HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — General Electric says the idea that it has been planning layoffs in Connecticut and plans to use the state’s just-passed budget as “cover” is completely untrue.

State Senate President Martin Looney made that assertion yesterday, hours after the Legislature passed a two-year, $40 billion budget that had been criticized by Connecticut-based employers including General Electric Co. and Aetna Inc.

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GE spokesman Seth Martin says the company spoke out against the budget because it “needs to operate in a state that allows business to be competitive.” Aetna also has hinted the budget may make it rethink its presence in Connecticut.

In a gesture to appease corporations unhappy with the new state budget, some lawmakers have suggested tweaking the spending side, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported.

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But Joe McGee of the Business Council of Fairfield County says it’s not just big corporations which are affected. Small businesses are too and the cause of the corporate unrest, he believes, is well-defined.

“The cost of government, both at the state and local level, has become of great concern,” he told Schneidau. “It’s growing too rapidly and people are just increasingly concerned about it.”

McGee said yes, some budget tweaking can be done to help soften the blow, but he believes a strong hand must be taken to rein-in state spending and restore a friendly business environment.

Looney, a New Haven Democrat, says Connecticut’s business taxes are relatively moderate and that companies are likely to benefit from some of the budget’s provisions, including a reduction in car taxes.

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