Malloy tells Congress: Skip the partisanship and help the states

Washington — It was the tale of two governors.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, was expected to provide stark contrast to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing Wednesday on job creation.

Instead, the governors were often on the same page.

“There were many cases where Gov. Snyder and I were in agreement, which confounded some of the GOP members of the committee.” Malloy said.

It confounded some of the Democrats, too.

“It’s been very interesting,” Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N Y., said of the governors’ testimony. “You certainly agree an awful lot on things.”

Both Malloy and Snyder inherited huge budget deficits when they were sworn into office last year. Both adopted agendas they called “shared sacrifice,” but they tackled state budget deficits in different ways.

Snyder cut $1.8 billion from state programs, including many aimed at helping the poor, and he lowered state corporate taxes.

Malloy raised a number of taxes — including the state’s income tax — and won about $1 billion a year in union concessions.

But both governors seem to have similar views on the role of the federal government.

“We need more (federal) investment in infrastructure,” Snyder said.

Malloy also said that Congress should approve more funds.

“I’m quite certain that if you send infrastructure money to the state, we’re quite capable of putting thousands of Connecticut construction workers back to work,” he said.

Malloy also urged Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits.

“If it’s not extended, 51,000 people in Connecticut will run out of benefits,” in a few weeks, he said.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., asked both governors if recent actions by the federal  National Labor Relations Board that make it easier for work places to unionize and speed the scheduling of union elections hurt their ability to create jobs.

“I would think there would be a significant impact for job creators,” Ross said.

Malloy said it certainly did not, and pointed out that “right to work” South Carolina, a state that keeps unions in check, has a higher unemployment rate than much unionized Connecticut.

Snyder said criticizing the NLRB decision “just creates divisiveness.”

“We waste too much time fighting about things instead of finding common ground,” Snyder said.

Malloy also asked for an end to gridlock.

“The political fights over the past year that have driven the federal government both to the brink of shutdown and default do not serve the country well,” Malloy said.