A contractual wage increase for unionized state employees — totaling roughly $353 million — officially went into effect today, as Connecticut faces an unprecedented unemployment and budgetary crisis. Governor Lamont and the General Assembly have chosen once again to cower in the face of special interest groups instead of upholding fairness for taxpayers.
Even as Gov. Lamont closed 36,000 private sector businesses and threw 500,000 people out of work by executive order this spring, he has claimed he lacks any power even to delay the state workforce’s second 5.5% wage increase in two years.
While businesses deemed “nonessential” were forced to close and their employees filed for unemployment benefits, nonessential employees who work for the state continued to receive pay and benefits. Now they’re getting a raise.
All of this is more evidence of Connecticut’s government unions’ stranglehold over state government.
Gov. Lamont should have done what’s right and taken the steps that he knows are necessary to put this state on the right path to recovery. Instead, his statements prove state government unions are so powerful – and their perks so ironclad – that no elected leader dares alter them, even in a time of crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn has imposed enormous financial and social strain on families and businesses. As a result, Connecticut will confront multiple challenges, including much lower tax revenue coupled with massive budget deficits, increased unemployment for those who have been put out of work and increased Medicaid costs to help those in need.
These extensive costs will inevitably fall upon the taxpayers of Connecticut in the future. Ironically, those the governor has forced out of work will pay for the wage increases of state workers.
All the people of Connecticut – including those working for the government – are in this together and these profoundly uncertain times require shared sacrifice by all, including government.
It is wrong that Connecticut’s elected officials continue to choose powerful special interest over taxpayers. Yankee Institute demands more from those who represent us, and so should you. Click here to tell your lawmakers that you demand fairness.
Statement attributable to Carol Platt Liebau, President of Yankee Institute