Check out this editorial….

September 3, 2017

…and send me a comment at Len.Suzio@cga.ct.gov – thank you!

The gift that keeps on taking

(Waterbury Republican-American Editorial, Sep. 1)

Connecticut remains without a budget for the 2017-19 biennium, which began July 1. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, continues to advocate fiercely for his proposed reform of the funding process for the pensions of public-school teachers, which the state covers.

This sends a big message about Gov. Malloy, and it is not a good one.

For some time, Connecticut government has been dogged by the underfunding of public-employee pensions. Back in February, Gov. Malloy recommended requiring municipalities to cover approximately one-third of annual teacher-pension costs. “The governor wants to bill cities and towns for $400 million annually to help cover skyrocketing teacher pension contributions,” according to an Aug. 28 Connecticut Mirror story.

There is an argument to be made for ensuring municipalities have skin in this game. For instance, the Malloy administration has suggested this course might force more fiscal responsibility at the local level. That said, these are tough times for Connecticut’s cities and towns, as was often noted when Gov. Malloy released his school-funding executive order last month; the governor is unilaterally setting state spending via executive order in the absence of a budget.

Accordingly, his proposal would make for an unfair burden at this point.

Indeed, the Mirror report indicated legislators of both parties have expressed concern about it.

It is fair to say Gov. Malloy is asking municipalities to partially carry the load for the “concessions” deal he reached with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.

Under this deal, which the legislature narrowly ratified in July,unionized state employees receive terms seldom, if ever, found in the private sector.

That is no way to bring stability to Connecticut’s beleaguered economy and budget.

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Leonard A. Fasano, of North Haven, aptly noted, “The governor’s number one priority throughout this entire budget process has been to gain approval for the labor deal he negotiated with state employee union leaders – a deal that prevents many structural changes to government, that moved our state further away from a budget and that created a situation where chaos is now rampant throughout our towns, cities and schools.”

After announcing in April that he won’t seek re-election in 2018, Gov. Malloy was in a strong position to confront state-employee unions and bring about fiscal reforms Connecticut badly needs.

The aforementioned events indicate the governor is as much of a servant of Big Public Labor as ever.

That is not what he twice was elected to be, and makes for an unfortunate legacy.

Ironically, Gov. Malloy was no friend of labor during his heralded 1995-2009 tenure as mayor of Stamford, as the Connecticut Post reported on Oct. 29, 2010.