Critics Offer Praise

One sign that Governor Malloy has done something unusual with his budget proposal this year is the reaction he is getting from his most reliable critics.

Republican leaders in the legislature were quick to praise Malloy's budget plan - even while claiming he was using their playbook. Meanwhile, two well known Malloy critics, Chris Powell of the Journal Inquirer and Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Courant, say Malloy's budget approach is what the state needs - while Rennie raises the key question about how the legislature will react.

This Time Save the State - Chris Powell, JI

Can Legislators Stick to Diet - Kevin Rennie, Courant

Solid Stride

Peter Gioia, the chief economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, says Governor Malloy's budget proposal takes some solid strides in the right direction. Gioia seems most impressed with Malloy's declaration that the old way of doing things simply no longer works for Connecticut and must change.


What's Next?

In the first 24 hours after Governor Dannel Malloy unveiled his budget proposals for this legislative session, the reaction among those calling for budget reform is positive.

The big question remains whether lawmakers will have the political will necessary to adopt some of the governor's plans in an election year.

Here is a rundown of coverage and reaction.

Business Embraces Malloy Budget Cuts - Hartford Business Journal

Malloy After Five Years - CT Mirror

Advocates Say Social Service Cuts Hurt - CT Mirror

CT Governor Faces Battle - Wall St. Journal

Malloy Sets Table for Change

During his budget address Wednesday, Governor Dannel Malloy made a point of saying times have changed and the process of building a state budget must change with them.

And for the first time in many years it appears both Democrats and Republicans agree with that over-arching assessment, if not the details of the governor's proposals. Interviews with lawmakers of both parties, before and after the governor's budget address, seem to reflect an awareness that fundamental changes have to be made when deciding budget and policy priorities.

Details of Governor Malloy's Budget 

Private Providers

Among the proposals expected in Governor Malloy's budget plan, is an effort to use private service providers to improve the quality and reduce costs for the care of Connecticut residents with developmental disabilities. The governor intends to keep Southbury Training School open as the best way to care for some of the most profoundly disabled residents in state care, but seek private providers for those who would do better in community settings.

This is a policy approach long advocated by CT 21.


Cause and Effect

As Governor Malloy prepares to offer his full budget proposal to the General Assembly there are signs his administration and legislative leadership are still responding to vocal criticism from the business community - and others - following last year's legislative session.

The governor is expected to unveil a series of proposals based on the concept of "zero-based" budgeting and greater spending accountability for executive branch agencies. To convince the legislature to buy-in, Governor Malloy is proposing greater real time transparency in state government. The governor's budget speech is scheduled for noon and can be seen live on CT-N. Here's a round-up of this morning's preview coverage.

Short Session; Big Problems - Hartford Courant

Malloy to Call for Sustainability - CT Mirror

Malloy Seeks to Reframe Budget Debate - CT News Junkie

Governor to Propose Cuts, Layoffs

Several news outlets are reporting that Governor Malloy plans to introduce a budget proposal Wednesday that will cut state spending by more than 5% across the board, include layoffs, and bring spending below current service levels. What's unclear is how the legislature will respond. Here's a sample of the latest coverage that is based largely on documents leaked to the news media in advance of the governor's speech.

Malloy Proposing $569M in Cuts - Hartford Courant

Malloy Budget $720M Below Current Spending - Connecticut Mirror

Leaked Budget Document Shows Cuts - CT News Junkie

Short Session - Budget Only

During a meeting with the capitol press corps last week, Governor Malloy said he sees it as "unlikely" that the legislature will convene this year without taking steps to make further budget adjustments. Some had been floating the idea that budget adjustments are not necessary, because the state has a two-year budget in place.

Coverage and key opinion pieces from the weekend indicate Malloy is planning a new approach when he unveils his own budget plans on Tuesday. There is also evidence top opinion writers are urging lawmakers to focus only on the budget and to address tough issues like state employee costs. Here's a round-up.

Budget Must Be Focus - Hartford Business Journal

Why CT Must Cut Workers Costs - Hartford Courant

Malloy to Seek Greater Control - Connecticut Mirror

Austere Budget Ahead

Governor Malloy said Friday that we can expect a "very austere" budget proposal from him when he opens the legislative session next week. For the second time a week, the governor promised no new taxes as reporters tried to probe him for exceptions to that rule.


Regionalism on Rise: CREC

The trend towards general state government reform continues based on the evidence at the local level and based on bills being filed for consideration during this year's legislative session.

Former Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman offered a compelling look at the issues in an article published by CT


Continued Justice Reform

Governor Dannel Malloy unveiled new proposals to reform bail policies in Connecticut. As part of his Second Chance Society program, Malloy's proposals could lead to long term savings by reducing incarceration costs.


Speaker Changing Approach to Budget

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey made some telling comments about the state budget situation in an article published by Connecticut News Junkie.

Looking at the condition of the state budget Sharkey has concluded it is time to make fundamental changes in how Connecticut government delivers services. With Governor Malloy pledging no new tax increases in the coming session Sharkey and others are concluding dramatic spending cuts will be necessary to bring the budget into balance. That may require a serious reconsideration of general assumptions.


Criminal Justice Reform

Governor Dannel Malloy is scheduled to unveil further details of his proposals for criminal justice reform during an appearance on Thursday of this week.

At an event earlier this week at Harvard he gave some hints as to his thinking and what to expect. CT 21 has identified criminal justice and juvenile justice as two parts of state government where reform can lead to cost efficiencies and greater effectiveness.


Business Mandates

As lawmakers return to the capitol in a few weeks for the traditional short session, some businesses and business groups are worried about efforts to impose new mandates on the private sector. Most of the new rules under consideration could have un-intended consequences on business competitiveness.


Opportunity Trends

New numbers from the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the Legislature's non-partisan budget office, show this year's state budget has fallen further into the red by at least $72 million. While this is not good news and must be addressed by lawmakers in the upcoming session, the trend continues to put pressure on lawmakers to look for non-traditional solutions. CT 21 has produced a series of reports over the last several years that provide some of the many long term solutions necessary to put state government on a corrective fiscal path.

Analysts Peg Deficit at $72M - CT News Junkie

Long Term Thinking

There is growing consensus among various analysts about the economic meaning of the recent decision by General Electric to move its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston.

The consensus, fortified by an article this weekend from the Connecticut Mirror, suggests GE's decision was not based entirely on action taken during the last legislative session, but instead based on the sense that Connecticut state government is on a long term path that is unpredictable.


GE Analysis

A week after General Electric announced plans to move its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston many are still weighing in on what the decision means for Connecticut, the policy direction of state government and the impact on the community. We have put together a brief round up of analysis and opinion.

GE Move Reflects HQ Trend - Boston Globe

The Pros and Cons of GE Move - CityLab

Fairfield Ponders Future - New York Times

Time for Honest Assessment - CBIA


Overtime Still a Source for Savings

As CT 21 has pointed out in previous reports on cost cutting in state government there are still opportunities to reduce personnel costs by reducing overtime clocked by state employees. Making better use of private sector providers when they can deliver the same services at reduced cost is an obvious place to look.

The website Trend CT published an info graphic explaining the status of overtime pay at this point in the fiscal year.

Read More... 

Deficit Projection Up

Ben Barnes, the head of the governor's budget office, said this week the projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year has risen to $7.1 million.

When compared with the overall budget this is a small figure, but just last month the state comptroller was projecting a much smaller number. This is a trend in the wrong direction and raises the possibility that even more budget cutting may be necessary in the upcoming "short session" of the legislature which is scheduled to begin in early February.

Although the legislature took steps at the end of last year to stabilize the budget, current trends continue to point to the need for a complete look at long term policies.

Texas Reduces Incarceration, Crime

The Atlantic’s David Frum in a piece May 11 asked a question that has been a discussion across the spectrum of criminal-justice scholars for decades: Can America have fewer prisoners without more crime?

Second Chance Prison

Somers -- Serafettin Senel and Andrew Phillips are inmates at the Willard-Cybulski prison complex, one of Connecticut’s expensive monuments to the mistakes of men. Senel’s mistake was selling narcotics. Phillips’ was drinking and driving, repeatedly.

CT Economic To Do List

Connecticut's modest recovery from the Great Recession has been marked by slow job growth, stagnant personal income, and a "groundhog day" cycle of state budgets in which revenues consistently fail to meet increasing expenditures while underfunding mental health, transportation, and other critical initiatives and programs.

Gov. Malloy Embraces CT 21 Concepts

(Hartford, CT) In unveiling his budget proposal, Governor Dannel Malloy(D) is backing many of the criminal justice reforms CT 21 has been advocating.

UCONN Economists Say Invest

A team of UConn economists and researchers said Wednesday morning that state government must invest in education, transportation and high-speed internet networks to ensure long-term economic job growth.