Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration began issuing layoff notices to state employees Monday, according to several sources familiar with the process. And at least 100 of those notices were served to workers at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School.
The state budget approved by the Appropriations Committee this week would force Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration to lay off 1,300 to 1,400 workers more than he was planning to serve with pink slips this month, the governor said Friday.
Recently there has been much discussion about the need for municipal and state workers to face the new reality of current budgetary constraints. As a Hartford taxpayer, I recognize that current labor agreements are not sustainable, and a failure to restructure health and pension benefits could lead to bankruptcy and an even harsher reality. But in fairness, I also feel there is a need for a more honest and holistic discussion of this new economic reality.
It is no secret that what has become known as the sell-out has delivered an ample supply of low skilled, low wage and low-benefited jobs to replace the mass exodus of good paying and skilled American manufacturing jobs. Connecticut and New England have been states hit hardest by the loss of these jobs. Not long ago, folks could opt out of college to pursue trade school and expect the opportunity of well paying manufacturing jobs in industries like hardware, tools, plating, arms, naval or aeronautical. These opportunities have virtually disappeared, the victim of plant closings and shifts to overseas production.
Last week, the governor’s office announced and the legislature approved cuts totaling $78 million. Even though I believe this is only a Band-Aid to a structural problem our state government faces, it is a better way to resolve our deficit woes without going after our hard-working taxpayers once again. This deficit mitigation plan only addresses this fiscal year’s current gap. What has to be addressed before the conclusion of this session is the $900 million deficit we are facing in the year ahead.
Updated at 5:18 p.m.
The legislature’s Appropriations Committee adopted a new $19.9 billion budget plan Wednesday, that Democratic leaders insisted restores fairness to a fiscal system that has cut too heavily from social services, health care and education – even though the overall plan is out of balance. Republicans pronounced it a failure.
The legislature’s Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a plan for the upcoming fiscal year that imposes some of the deepest cuts in recent history — but still could be more than $300 million out of balance.
Union leaders have been consistent, if somewhat restrained, in their opposition to granting another round of employee concessions to mitigate looming state budget deficits. But that restraint ended last week when the unions’ chief negotiator sent a stinging rebuke to the Republican legislative leaders who issued the first call for concessions 12 months ago.
It is clear that minimum wage jobs cannot adequately support families in a state like Connecticut. The Federal Poverty Level, which is used widely in determining eligibility for various kinds of assistance, for a family of three is $20,160 and for a family of two is $16,020. The time is now for Connecticut to join the national chorus for fair wages across the board. Empirical evidence shows that when we increase our wages, the median income goes up.
The major round of state employee layoffs that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has been hinting at since February is about two weeks away, the governor said Wednesday.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a bipartisan plan Tuesday afternoon to close most or all of the current budget deficit, immediately shifting the legislature’s focus to a far larger projected shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Hundreds of unionized state employees rallied Tuesday morning on the north steps of the Capitol, demanding that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislators abandon plans for layoffs and calls for wage and benefit concessions.
As income inequality rises, revenue declines. This is the counter-intuitive finding of states near and far from Connecticut which depend heavily on income tax. This is also why Connecticut is in the midst of another budget crisis and why more are expected.
Though all indications are that many state employees will receive pink slips soon, several factors make it difficult for Connecticut to downsize its workforce. And those same factors and others make it all-but-impossible to close the major budget deficits projected for the next few years with layoffs alone.
Connecticut’s private sector gained “a solid 5,000 jobs” in February as its unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent, according to the monthly labor report released Thursday by the state Department of Labor.