MA and RI do it. So should CT.

July 20, 2017

(Please read and share with taxpayers the Waterbury Republican-American editorial I have attached below.  Send me your comments at [email protected] – thank you!)

Concessions deal:

The statutory solution is best

Connecticut’s Republican legislative caucuses have opposed the “concessions” deal Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy reached in May with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC).

The deal has formidable flaws that would hamstring state government in combating its notorious financial problems.

Republicans have presented alternative plans centered on statutory changes to the process by which the state deals with its employees.

The “concessions” deal was approved overwhelmingly this week by workers who know a good deal when they see it. The legislature likely will vote on it.

Statutory changes are the best vehicle for improving Connecticut’s financial health.

However, Gov. Malloy contends they are illegal. 

This position is curious: during a past budget crisis, the governor himself raised the possibility of statutory changes.

Senate Republicans unveiled a statutory plan May 31, shortly after Gov. Malloy announced a tentative agreement with SEBAC. House Republicans support this approach.

The Senate proposal would affect wages, arbitration, and pension and health-care contributions.

The GOP claims it would save $2.2 billion over the 2017-19 biennium, as opposed to the $1.5 billion that would come from the SEBAC deal.

Gov. Malloy announced his opposition to the statutory path almost immediately.

However, the governor sang a different tune during the 2011 budget crunch, when workers rejected a deal negotiated by Gov. Malloy and SEBAC. 

That deal “would have imposed a two-year wage freeze, but also implemented provisions intended to make long-term savings in health and pension costs,” the Connecticut Mirror reported June 28, 2011.

According to the same story, the governor said, “I believe, ultimately, the strength of what we negotiated with the unions was to bring about systemic change that allowed a sustainable relationship. In the absence of an agreement to do that, we’re going to have to look at doing that by statute.”

The deal was approved after the worker-voting process was modified. Union negotiator Daniel Livingston said it provided Connecticut state workers some of the most generous employment terms in the United States.

To date, Gov. Malloy hasn’t explained why it wouldn’t have been illegal to make statutory changes in 2011 but would be illegal to do so in 2017.

Absent such an explanation, the conclusion to be drawn is the lame-duck governor has lost his will to confront the influential Democratic constituency of Big Public Labor.

That is not what he twice was elected to do.

That workers overwhelmingly approved the “concessions” deal suggests their union leaders believe it is a gravy train.

By the way, as Yankee Institute for Public Policy President Carol Platt Liebau noted, in most other states – Massachusetts and Rhode Island included – employee benefits are set “through state statute, (and) voted upon by the people’s representatives in the state legislature.”