Union Issues

State employee union leadership is basically telling the Malloy administration "a deal is a deal" and is resisting efforts by the governor to re-open contract negotiations as part of the effort to trim state spending.

Over the weekend union leaders told Governor Malloy they do not have the authority to discuss contract givebacks unless authorized by union membership.

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DMV Opportunity

This week's top management changes at the Department of Motor Vehicles could signal a major opportunity for Connecticut to modernize its current, trouble plagued system.

CT21's comprehensive report on information technology changes in state government highlighted specific examples in Georgia and Arizona that might be used as a template for better customer service and cost savings.

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Nearly Half of CT Towns in Fiscal Trouble

From Connecticut Data Collaborative
by Michelle Riordan-Nold

With each passing day it seems the headlines in the papers highlight a worsening fiscal situation for the state. This begs the question: What does it mean for our towns?

This is the first in a series that will examine the fiscal situation of municipalities. There have been several statewide initiatives to examine fiscal challenges facing both the state and towns. Our goal is to highlight the major findings from these initiatives and reports; expand on the research that was done; present it through a new medium; and inform a broader audience on the work being done in the state.

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Time to Act

By CBIA Staff

Connecticut’s growing fiscal problems have an unsettling effect on our business climate and economy, risking jobs, government services, and our quality of life.

As opinion polls consistently illustrate, voters recognize those issues and they are becoming increasingly concerned about the direction of the state.

A Promise to Move Now

Legislative leaders are now promising to close the current projected state budget deficit by April 1, a full month before the end of the current legislative session. This promise was made this week even as Governor Malloy took unilateral action to trim nearly $80 million in planned spending using executive authority.

While the promise to close the current deficit is welcome news, it may also signal a strategic decision by legislators to deal with larger structural problems after this year's elections.

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Post Employment Costs

A growing issue for many states - including Connecticut - is costs related to post-employment benefits for former state workers.

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College is out with a new study outlining the challenges.

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Malloy Would Sign GOP Budget

In a somewhat remarkable development, Governor Malloy has signaled he would be inclined to sign a Republican budget plan unveiled this week that attempts to balance the budget for this fiscal year.

A spokesman for Malloy told the Connecticut Mirror that while the governor does not agree with all aspects of the plan - it's an honest effort.

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Poll: Juvenile Justice

A new poll shows most Connecticut residents favor community based programs over prison-like settings for juvenile justice offenders.

The survey is consistent with findings and recommendations from CT21 that show financial and outcome benefits to building a strong network of community based social programs vs. institutional settings.

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Week Ahead

This shows signs of another important week in the state budget process.

The news media and union leadership will be attempting to find out more about Governor Malloy's state employee layoff plans. Last week his administration sent out early warnings of impending job cuts but did not offer specifics. Over the weekend one union leader appeared on a local television talk show to complain that Malloy had yet to take advantage of union offers to come up with alternate plans to reduce spending.

CT Added Fewer Jobs in 2015 - CT News Junkie

Malloy Discusses Budget - New Britain Herald

Layoff Warnings Go Out

The Malloy administration has sent out the first layoff warning notices to most state employee bargaining units.

The notifications simply warn of the potential for layoffs to help balance the budget. All state agency leaders have been asked to draft new plans to deliver services within existing revenues. Governor Malloy has made clear in recent public comments that closing of certain state facilities and workforce reductions will be necessary to balance the budget.

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Governor, Speaker Agree on Problem

At the very least, both Governor Malloy and House Speaker Brendan Sharkey seem to agree on the problem, as the state stares down projected budget deficits in the next several years.

Speaking before the Planning and Development Committee Friday, Sharkey, who has at times disagreed with the governor on a several issues, told members, "we are in an emergency situation" with respect to the state budget. Like Malloy, the Speaker said, "our budgets have to reflect the revenues we are generating" and he added, we don't have the revenues we used to and "guess what; they're not coming back."

Sharkey was testifying in favor of the work of the MORE commission on regionalization. 

Consistent Message

Governor Malloy continues to deliver a consistent message on the state budget regardless of the pressure or the politics of the moment.

Speaking directly to state workers and taxpayers at a town forum in West Hartford Wednesday Malloy said continued spending cuts and state employee layoffs are on the horizon and suggested there is no way around it. Malloy acknowledged two consecutive large tax increases have failed to provide the revenue to fund Connecticut state government, so state government spending must shrink.

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Biz Community Welcomes Malloy

Governor Dan Malloy has been the bearer of bad news in recent weeks, but his message is being received well by Connecticut business leaders who have been advocating for reductions in state spending for years.

Malloy spoke Wednesday at Connecticut Business Day at the capitol.

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Major Layoffs Likely

As the state budget picture continues to unfold it appears likely the Malloy administration is looking toward layoffs of state employees as a major part of any cost reduction efforts. The stark reality of placing this option so squarely on the table is putting a sharper focus on the challenges ahead for the state legislature.

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Legislative Furloughs

There are new signs legislators are either getting the message about the need to control state spending or they are running out of options. Or perhaps both.

Legislative leaders have begun researching the possibility of reversing raises for employees of the legislative branch and using furloughs of those workers in an effort to bring the state budget in line. Both steps would be largely symbolic given the size of the state budget and scope of the problem, but the decision does indicate a new sense of urgency on the part of leading lawmakers.

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Biz Group Looks Long

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association(a member of CT21) is urging Connecticut lawmakers to make adjustments to spending and policy priorities during the current session of the legislature, but also to begin thinking about long term changes that may need several years to implement. The CBIA makes the point that the legislative process is a long one and what is holding back Connecticut job growth requires persistent change.

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Setting Priorities

By Robert Santy

Governor Malloy’s budget proposal this year begins to get at one of the fundamental problems with Connecticut’s budget process. As the system exists today, the budget begins when agency leaders submit their proposals to the governor’s office from the perspectives determined by the mission of their particular agency. The process is compartmentalized further when the governor’s budget is sent to the legislature and reviewed by equally segmented committees.

CT v. MA Taxes

Connecticut's Office of Legislative Research recently did a comparison of tax rates in Connecticut and Massachusetts. General Electric's recent decision to move its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston serves as the backdrop for the survey which finds rates are slightly lower in Massachusetts.

In the aftermath of the GE move many have pointed out that comparing tax rates in New York and New England states is a short-sighted approach, because businesses compete on an international basis in today's economy.

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Mixed Signals

A poll released last week by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. and InformCT includes mixed messages about the public view of the Connecticut economy. While the poll suggests more people are feeling the economic climate is improving, they also feel their own financial picture is not improving in any significant way.

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Union Givebacks

According to the CT Mirror, the leaders of Connecticut state employee unions are expecting and bracing for another attempt to extract concessions from state employees.

Governor Malloy has certainly signaled a need to reduce the state workforce, he has hinted at layoffs and Monday he withdrew scheduled raises for non-union state managers. The Mirror article and the state of the Connecticut budget suggest the possibility of a coming standoff involving state employee unions.

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Griebel: Discipline, Sustainability the Keys

Writing in the Hartford Business Journal, Oz Griebel of the MetroHartford Alliance makes the case for fiscal sustainability in state government and more active private sector involvement in state affairs.

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Budget Problems Big Enough

In a powerful editorial published this week in the Hartford Business Journal, the paper calls on lawmakers to concentrate their efforts during the current session on solving the state's fiscal challenges. Now is not the time to expand the size and scope of government, according to the HBJ editorial page. There are more pressing problems that demand immediate attention.

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Not Time for Blame

The Day of New London argues now is not the time to play the blame game when it comes to the state budget.

The bottom line is the current budget crisis offers leaders the opportunity to make fundamental changes that can turn the state's economic prospects around for everyone. Solutions are available if everyone is willing to work together and think beyond standard political positions.

CT21 is ready to help.

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Politics Aside

Last week's new report on the size of the projected state budget deficit brought an immediate increase in the level of political rhetoric related to the state budget.

In times of crisis it is more important that ever for all sides to work together. CT21 stands ready to work with policy-makers by offering non-partisan, data driven budget options that can put Connecticut on the right track. View our menu of proposals under CT21 in Depth.