As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this week it was no surprise that legislative leaders announced the 2020 legislative session is over, and will adjourn without any further action. The constitutionally mandated adjournment date is midnight, May 6. We hear there may be a special session in the upcoming months although no date has been set. There is the possibility that some of the “priority” bills that were debated earlier in the session may be taken up in a few omnibus bills during the special session. As far as the budget is concerned, it is estimated the state will end the year with a budget deficit in the neighborhood of $530 million. OPM Secretary Melissa McCaw stated the year end deficit would not be addressed by Governor Lamont with “revenue policy changes or reductions in expenditures, but with transfer from the Budget Reserve “rainy day” fund.
May 20th will likely no longer be the day Connecticut reopens. It will, however, be the deadline for the Governor’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Board to give Gov. Ned Lamont its recommendations/plans for reopening sometime in June. The advisory board is a 48-member panel with representatives from the business, education, government, health and science fields.
They seem to be leaving in droves
This week brought the news that House Minority Leader Themis Klarides will not be running for reelection in the fall. She joins Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, and Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz. As a result, there will be new leadership in these caucuses. Other state representatives that have recently publicly stated they are not seeking reelection in the fall include: Emil ‘Buddy” Altobello (D); Livvy Floren (R); John Frey (R); Gail Lavielle (R); Russ Morin (D); Kim Rose (D).
Yankee in the News
This week Yankee Institute was cited in the Washington Post in an op-ed piece by Hugh Hewitt regarding state rescue and monetary aid be accompanied by reform. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/24/why-mcconnell-was-right-when-he-raised-issue-state-bankruptcies-with-me/
Yankee president, Carol Liebau had an op-ed in the Hartford Courant this week where she discussed hope and transparency after the pandemic.
Check out Yankee’s recent investigative article on the state employee pay raises slated to take effect on July 1, 2020 that were approved under the 2017 State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition deal (SEBAC) has garnered a bit of attention as well. https://yankeeinstitute.org/2020/04/14/yankee-institute-policy-position-gov-lamont-should-suspend-the-scheduled-pay-increases-for-state-employees/
The pay raises represent a 3.5% general wage increase and an annual step increase of 2%.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano asked Governor Lamont this week to consider delaying the state employee raises. Senator Fasano suggested delaying the raises and directing the funds to our state’s nonprofit providers who are taking a serious financial hit during the COVID 19 crisis. Governors in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have already canceled or delayed state employee pay rises due to the fiscal impact the COVID 19 pandemic has had on their budgets. Whether Governor Lamont will use his executive powers during this crisis to temporarily suspend the pay raises remains to be seen. However, he did state this week at a briefing that everything will be on the table in discussions on how to balance the state budget.
Stay tuned for more details and updated information next week.