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State Employees Approve $1.5B in Concessions; Tell CT to Raise Taxes Next

July 19, 2017 By Staff
State Employees Approve $1.5B in Concessions; Tell CT to Raise Taxes Next

State employees approved a deal that would trade $1.5 billion in two-year concessions for five more years of benefits. Now, some labor leaders want Connecticut to raise taxes.

State employee unions approved a deal on Tuesday struck between labor leaders and Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) earlier this year, to take $1.5 billion in concessions over the next two years in exchange for five more years of the exiting wages and benefits package.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that 83 percent of state employees who voted on the deal voted in favor of it.

The basic framework of the deal?

  • State employees give Malloy $1.5 billion in concessions over the next two fiscal years, including $700 million in wage concessions, $400 million in pensions changes, and hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare changes
  • Malloy gives state employees another five years of benefits – extending a deal originally signed in 1997 to 2027 – and protects employees who signed off on the wages package from any layoffs through June 2021

The deal, if approved by the legislature, gets Connecticut around 35 percent of the way to meeting an expected two-year budget deficit of $5 billion.

CONCEDED ENOUGH?

Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (D-Conn.) praised the deal, thanking state employees for their sacrifices.

Republican leaders, though, including Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven), said on Tuesday that their plan – to achieve $1.8 billion in two-year savings without the need for union approval – is better for Connecticut.

TAXED ENOUGH?

Some labor leaders, meanwhile, started calling for new taxes on Tuesday, according to the AP:

“Once again, the governor has asked us to step up and we came to the call. Faced with a budget deficit, we were asked to help. And after months of negotiations, we’ve come up with every penny sought,” said Darnell Ford, a direct care staffer at the Department of Children and Families.

…”Now it’s time for our legislators to do their part by asking the billionaires and corporations to do the same,” he said. “We can’t be the only part in this process.”

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) said his caucus is still considering an increase in the sales tax, seeming to indicate that tax hikes are on the table.