Malloy Defends Union Deal in Op-Ed, but Is It Enough?June 19, 2017
In an op-ed for the Hartford Courant, Governor Malloy defended his approach to state employee unions in 2017. Some, including Senate Republican leader Len Fasano, argue it's not enough.
The deal, which extracts $1.6 billion in concessions from state labor unions but also locks in their generous benefits packaged through 2027, has been criticized by many. Malloy acknowledged this criticism in his op-ed:
Some voices in the media, the legislature and the business community believe that state employees need to offer even more savings as we balance our budget. While we respect their opinions — we disagree. We think this agreement is in the clear best interest of Connecticut taxpayers today, tomorrow and 20 years from now.
AGREE TO DISAGREE?
Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) disagrees. He wrote, in an op-ed also published by the Courant, that the governor has not done enough:
Although I appreciate the governor’s efforts to negotiate a labor deal, it comes with many caveats. It includes guaranteed raises, no layoff provisions and ties the hands of future lawmakers and governors for another 10 years not just regarding benefits, but, more important, regarding structural changes to government.
The Connecticut Senate Republicans’ May budget relied heavily on labor savings and spending cuts.
WHAT IS ENOUGH?
Though Malloy’s $1.6 billion in concessions are nothing to blink at, they only get Connecticut one-third of the way to meeting an expected $5 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years. The remaining $3.4 billion will have to be filled by either painful spending cuts, or tax hikes no one wants.
As Fasano and others have pointed out, the deal also extends a quite-generous deal for state workers, signed by then-Gov. John Rowland (R-Conn.) in 1997, through 2027.
No budget answers in Connecticut are easy these days. Can Malloy – or, perhaps, a new governor in 2019 – extract more from state labor unions?
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