Budget Update

July 12, 2011

Our special session following the state workers’ failure to ratify the union concession deal addressed two issues;

  • whether the legislature should give the Governor more power to make cuts to the budget on his own
  • pension reform.
  • The Governor had set out to re-coup a savings of $1.6 billion through concessions from the state’s workforce, but that labor agreement did not receive the necessary votes from union members, requiring the legislature to take action.

    During the special session, which is the last day of the fiscal year, we debated and voted on a measure granting Governor Malloy greater rescission authority to make unilateral spending cuts in order to fill the $1.6 billion gap in the state budget.

    I voted no because no Governor should be given so much power.

    In order to fill the hole left by the failed concession agreement, the Governor is seeking to double his spending cut authority to 10 percent. In exchange for not cutting aid to municipalities the Governor is proposing to layoff 6,466 state employees in addition to the elimination of 1,000 currently vacant positions.

    The Governor’s request is unprecedented in our state’s history. As Connecticut’s constitution mandates it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget. The taxpayers of Connecticut deserve a fair and balanced budget process.

    As for the second piece of business, I voted in favor of pension reform because I believe it is time to deal with the issue of unfunded liabilities. Connecticut has a lot of outstanding debt, as much as $41,000 per resident. We need to make necessary reforms now to get the state’s fiscal house in order.

    Freezing longevity bonuses, money paid to state workers for simply being on the job for more than ten years and eliminating them for future hires and those currently not eligible is the responsible thing to do. Policy makers in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Maine are all making these necessary changes and Connecticut should too.

    The next few months will be unsettling in many of our lives as new taxes take effect. I voted against any and all new taxes. I am also confident we will get through this summer of discontent, because of our resolve and our willingness to forge ahead.