Letter: State labor deal has brought about widespread chaos

August 28, 2017

Letter by Senator Kevin Witkos as it appeared in the Republican American

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s executive order slashing education funding is devastating and enraging (Aug. 19 story, “Aid crunch worse under new plan”). It would drastically cut or eliminate education funding to the 11 municipalities I represent. It would hit municipalities big and small, urban and rural. Almost $20 million would be cut from Torrington alone. On top of the pain, the order violates Connecticut law by cutting special-education funding and withholding municipal funding – cuts the governor does not have the authority to make without legislative approval.

What’s so frustrating is that our state should never have gotten to this point.

Legislative Republicans have proposed multiple budgets throughout the year that would have protected our municipalities and schools. Senate Republicans proposed a new education-funding formula that adheres to the recent court ruling that requires the state to adopt a real formula to fairly distribute money to schools based on factors including need, poverty, wealth, population growth and decline, and number of English-language learners.

All of these efforts were denied a vote by Democratic legislative leaders. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to push for fair education funding.

While Democrats have rejected Republican budgets, they did not offer a budget themselves until last week that could be voted on. Instead, Democrats focused on approving a labor deal that ties Connecticut’s hands, when they had no idea how to balance the budget once that deal passed. The result has been chaos. So today, the upper echelon of unionized state employees have guaranteed raises and security, but our students don’t, our teachers don’t, the parents of children with disabilities don’t, and property taxpayers don’t. It’s not right. Our children deserve better.