Malloy’s Top Three Priorities…Do They Get CT Back to Good?March 22, 2017
Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) released – and touted – his top three priorities for budget negotiations this spring. Will his efforts improve Connecticut's dire fiscal situation?
Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) discussed his top three priorities for budget season with reporters on Wednesday, according to WFSB and other outlets.
WFSB reports the top three priorities are: 1) shifting the way towns and cities get education funding, and shifting teachers’ pensions from the state to towns, 2) criminal justice reform, and 3) “sacrifices” from state workers.
Let’s take these in turn and determine how much they strike at the state’s future deficits – expected to be $1.42B in 2017-18 and $1.6B in 2018-19.
#1: EDUCATION FUNDING
Malloy talked education funding, but there’s not much of a substantive change in how much the state spends on education.
The CT Mirror looked at how the state, and each of Connecticut’s 169 towns and cities, fares in Malloy’s proposed budget. Their charts show $427 million taken out of the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant, but $597 million plowed into the new education grant – just shifted from towns to Connecticut’s ailing cities.
Now, Malloy would shift costs by putting $400 million in the burden of teachers’ pensions on towns. Still, this amounts to an unfunded mandate that would force some towns to consider raising property taxes.
#2: CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Malloy said the state has saved $70 million over two years on criminal justice reform.
Regardless of the debate around criminal justice reform, though, $35 million a year is but a small sliver of the upcoming, $1.4 billion deficit.
An overwhelming majority of Malloy’s budget savings depend on winning concessions from labor unions. Malloy assumes $700 million in labor savings – 51 percent of his ‘spending cuts’ in the budget.
Malloy has yet to announce any hard commitments from Big Labor in Connecticut, but WFSB points out just how generous Connecticut’s pension plan for state employees is:
Malloy is looking at state workers to make sacrifices, something the GOP supports.
Seventy-five percent of state employees pay only 2 percent towards their pension, the rest pay zero. The national average is 7 percent.
While Malloy’s budget offers tax increases and spending cuts, it’s unlikely his top three priorities alone will make a meaningful dent in current and future deficits.
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