The legislature's Appropriations Committee failed Tuesday to pass a proposed spending plan for the next two years. The failure maybe a sign of things to come as a closely divided legislature tries to balance the state budget by June 7. Perhaps more important, the failure maybe a sign the legislature is unable to act with long term solutions in mind.
By Loren Dealy Mahler
Economics 101 tells us that job creation leads to long-term growth, and any talk about improving the economy always centers on jobs. What we don’t often discuss, however, is what happens when there are more jobs than there are workers to fill them. When jobs go unfilled the economic benefit of creating them sits unclaimed.
Connecticut is on the verge of experiencing this rare situation. A glut of jobs in the manufacturing industry is headed our way, but if we don’t make the right investments now, the opportunity will be wasted.
Working in coordination with state government, non-profit groups like the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness have successfully reduced the homeless population in Connecticut, in the last five years, saving lives and tax dollars.
The state’s homeless population is estimated at about 10,000 people which represents a five year low. Efforts to reduce the homeless population are consistent with principles promoted by the Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century, because they tend to reduce the burden on taxpayers while improving the outcomes for the people receiving the benefit of state services.
A plan to privatize social services for the developmentally disabled has been put on hold and it appears the issue may have become part of the negotiations between the Malloy administration and state employee unions. Privatization of social services across government is believed to lower costs and improve outcomes in a variety of areas. Previous CT21 studies have confirmed better results at lower cost.
As the legislature's budget writing committees move toward their deadlines to produce spending and tax packages, the pace is picking up at the state capitol. Rumors persist that the tough decisions that need to be made this year to bring the budget into balance may force the legislature into summer session.
Thursday Governor Malloy warned state labor unions and the employees they represent that he is prepared to layoff as many as 1,100 state workers in May, and leave more than 100 other positions unfilled, unless labor agrees to significant cost cutting concessions.
All this is taking place against a backdrop of the 2018 race for governor as new candidates step forward each day.
The legislature's tax writing Finance Committee is moving toward a deadline next week and along the way committee members seem to be considering every means possible to increase revenue to state government. There is still no consensus on where the committee will land or whether the final work product will be politically palatable to the legislature as a whole or to the governor.
Despite Connecticut facing another year of difficult budgetary talks, there seems to be some positive developments on the horizon. Much more than in previous years, the public and private sectors are making the effort to talk with one another and work together on potential solutions for economic development. This is good news according to Vanessa Rossitto of BlumShapiro writing in the Hartford Business Journal.
Unprecedented growth is projected for the aerospace and defense sector across our nation and our state. In Connecticut, companies like Pratt & Whitney, Electric Boat and Sikorsky have announced long-term contracts for military engines, commercial engines, submarines and helicopters that will spur technology advances and generate thousands of jobs not only within the original equipment manufacturers, but throughout the aerospace and defense supply chain.
A major challenge, however, persists — how to attract a next generation of talent needed to support the industry's expansion.
A CT21 policy brief on the Connecticut defense industry is getting wide attention as reports continue to show the defense industry growing in Connecticut at the same time challenges persist with regard to workforce development in the manufacturing sector.
For more details on our findings read the full policy brief under the "Reports" section of our website.
The Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century has named Robert Guenther as executive director.
Guenther, formerly of Webster Bank, has worked closely with the institute, or CT21 as it is commonly known, over the last seven years as a board member and representative on the steering committee. At Webster, Guenther was senior vice president for public affairs, where he directed all external communications and government relations.