close

Sign Up

For the latest Connecticut news, straight to your inbox.

Big Raises for State Workers, and a UCONN Tuition Hike

March 13, 2017 By Staff
Big Raises for State Workers, and a UCONN Tuition Hike

The simple reality that state leaders seems to have spending problem, where even cuts are met with increased spending.

The cost of higher education in Connecticut has been on the rise, and financial officials now say one of the main causes of such increases are fringe benefits:

Top financial officials from Connecticut’s two major public college systems told legislators Friday that rising fringe benefit costs and mandated employee salary increases are key driving forces behind tuition hikes in recent years.

The University of Connecticut’s budget chief, Scott Jordan, noted that the school “as a state agency” is “feeling the cost of fringes and retirement costs.

Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) has proposed shifting education costs in his recent budget across the board, one example being generous teachers’ pensions.

At the same time, the governor’s budget relies heavily on union concessions that have yet to be agreed on. These cuts haven’t stopped the governor from budgeting in roughly $800 million in big raises for state workers:

Why does that two-year budget include $800 million for state employee raises — an amount that far exceeds anything Malloy set aside before and doubles the funding his staff estimated was necessary just five months earlier?

To make matters worse, college graduates are not choosing to stay in the state after graduation, seeking better economic opportunities elsewhere.

Democratic lawmakers’ solution to this problem? A proposed tax break for new college graduates that stay in the state. Connecticut House Democrats have called the tax break among “the[ir] highest priorities”:

The tax cut is among the highest priorities of the House Democratic caucus this year, along with fully exempting Social Security benefits from the state income tax, Aresimowicz said. Lower-income residents who have no income other than Social Security already do not pay the state income tax, and the plan would exempt an estimated 128,000 filers who currently pay taxes on their benefits.

The simple reality that state leaders seems to have spending problem, where even cuts are met with increased spending. This has led some to argue that Connecticut’s problems are symptomatic of a larger issue, the failure of state’s “blue state model” of government.