CT Overtime Costs Reduced

With a workforce reduction of 1,000 positions over the last year, state overtime costs have been cut by 14% according to a memo from OPM Secretary Ben Barnes.

The report comes following previous public criticism of overtime costs in state government.

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New Labor Data

The Connecticut Department of Labor is out with new statistics showing job migration patterns in Connecticut.

It shows many have left the state for places like Texas, California and North Carolina, but the new figures also show more people are moving to this state from Massachusetts and New York. The findings are published in the latest edition of the Connecticut Economic Digest.

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Budget Crises Redefine Priorities

The Hartford Business Journal points out that budget constraints at the state and local level are forcing elected leaders to redefine the role of government spending. Shrinking tax revenues mean government can only spend on top priority items.

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No Holiday for Budget Cuts

As the new fiscal year gets underway the Malloy administration is asking state agency leaders to make more cuts in department budgets.

OPM has asked for a total of $130 million in reductions and will likely ask for more as the fiscal year moves forward.

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Taxpayers Favor Regionalization

A new survey from InformCT says more than half of state residents believe many locally delivered government services should be regionalized to save money.

Though Connecticut does not have a county government system, which would make regionalization easier, several steps are being taken in the right direction. CT21 research has shown significant opportunity for cost savings. With the state facing projected budget deficits over the next two years it is more likely than ever that many ideas concerning regional cooperation are now ripe for implementation.

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Trouble Ahead

...or more accurately...as most Connecticut budget watchers know...we are not out of the woods yet.

The news from the state capitol is that with a few days left in this fiscal year we will need to use the Rainy Day Fund to balance the books. On top of that, trends show the budget set to take effect on July 1 is already out of balance. The next legislative session will be dominated once again by complex budget matters rather than policy. The most difficult task is aligning falling revenues with ever growing spending responsibilities.

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CT Recovery Lagging

A new analysis from CBIA economist Peter Gioia points out the continued troubling trend line behind the economic recovery in Connecticut.

The numbers confirm an argument Governor Dannel Malloy has been making for most of this year about a basic shift in economic patterns that require a new approach to budgeting and economic development.

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Deficit Problems Persist

New numbers from the Malloy administration show declining revenues continue to be a persistent problem for the state of Connecticut.

The budget shortfall for the current fiscal year grew over the last month by close to $60 million meaning it is likely the state will need to use its Rainy Day Fund to balance the books at the end of the year. The latest figures also throw into question whether the budget that is about to go into effect on July 1 is truly in balance.

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Two Track Recovery

By Scott Bates

We have reached an important point in the history of our state. Connecticut is facing the twin challenges of fiscal shortfalls and a rapidly changing economy that is making it harder for working families to make ends meet. Yet every crisis provides an opportunity to change direction and it appears some Connecticut policy-makers are looking past the crisis of the moment to plan meaningfully for the future.

Barnes Sees Pain, Opportunity

In a memo sent to state agency leaders earlier this month, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes warned of more painful spending cuts over the next two years and plenty of criticism to go with those cuts.

But he also framed the tight budget as an opportunity to realign state government in a "sustainable and responsive" way.

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Sector Growth

A new report on Connecticut's Gross Domestic Product shows good and bad signs.

The most positive news suggests signs of growth in a few key economic sectors important to the jobs of the future, including; manufacturing, scientific and technical services.

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Veto Sustained

In a rare split between the Senate and the House, Democrats in the legislature were unable to over-ride any of Governor Malloy's line-item budget vetoes Monday. The spending reductions will stand.

Reportedly Democrats in the House had the votes for an over-ride, but Senate leaders decided such a vote would be only symbolic.

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Stern Warnings of Future Cuts

The administration of Governor Dan Malloy is wasting no time warning state agency leaders that the budget cutting is far from over - in fact it has just begun.

Budget director Ben Barnes sent out a communication this week advising that some programs may be cut by more than ten percent and some may be eliminated. The Barnes memo says spending reductions will be the order of the day for the next two years.

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New Choices for Juvenile Justice

By Dan Rezende

The recently concluded legislative session on the state budget makes clear the growing imperative to fundamentally alter the way state government does business. Political leaders are coming to the realization that Connecticut residents will not support higher tax increases until they are convinced current spending has been prioritized according to need and the efficiency of programs has been maximized.

CT 500

While some may be disappointed with state government's ability to address current fiscal challenges, one law passed at the end of this year's legislative session is designed to look ahead - and actually plan - for the next 25 years. And it's getting more attention.

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Bad Debt

An article published by Governing Magazine includes bad news on Connecticut's public debt in relation to the other 50 states.

According to a recent study, Connecticut and three other states have the worst revenue to debt ratio in the country. Most of the trouble comes from overly burdensome pension and healthcare commitments to past and present state employees.

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Layoff Stall

For reasons that are unclear right now, the Malloy administration seems to be falling short of its own plan for state employee layoffs.

According to the CT Mirror, the administration has only made about half the target number of 2,000. Earlier this year the administration said it wanted to reach its target by June 10.

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Poor Grades

Some may argue with the methodology, but the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is out with a new study that does not reflect well on the state of Connecticut.

The survey ranks Connecticut 50th among the 50 states based on five categories of measurement. Puerto Rico falls behind Connecticut at 51.

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500K x 500K

A bill known as S.B. 1, which was eventually moved inside the state budget implementation bill, is getting lots of attention.

The legislation is written to put into state policy a plan to create half a million new jobs and attract the same number of new residents to Connecticut over the next 25 years. It aims to do so by making Connecticut a magnet for entrepreneurs.

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CT Debt

A new report from the Pew Center says Connecticut has among the highest public debt burdens in the United States. We rank 5th.

The biggest portion of that debt is linked public employee pensions and retiree health care costs.

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CT Manufacturing Not Dead

In a state tormented by negative economic news the manufacturing sector is sounding a bright note.

The number of manufacturing jobs has been rising and demand for those jobs is increasing as older workers retire. However, even this good news includes challenging trends. Lower starting salaries are keeping income tax revenues down.

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Optimistic and Pessimistic

A new survey from InformCT, and administered by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc., says most Connecticut residents are feeling better about their own personal financial situations, but are pessimistic about the condition and future of Connecticut state finances.

As a result, many are curtailing their spending.

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Budget Analysis

CT News Junkie published this analysis of the just completed legislative session, the budget debate and a look at what's next.

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Rainy Day Fund in Play

CT News Junkie is reporting that it is likely part of Connecticut's budget reserve fund may be used to balance the current year's projected budget deficit.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes says there is not enough time left in the current fiscal year to fill a deficit of approximately $250 million without tapping into the reserve account.

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