Figures released Tuesday by the Office of Fiscal Analysis show Connecticut made big strides in reducing overtime, despite recent state employee layoffs. In fiscal year 2016, state agencies reduced overtime payments by 14.5 percent, $37 million less than the previous year. The biggest reduction in overtime came from the Department of Correction, which reduced overtime by $21.4 million, followed by the Department of Developmental Services, which reduced overtime spending by $5.2 million.
Marc E. Fitch
A new study from the Employment Policies Institute shows that Connecticut’s 2012 paid sick leave law resulted in reduced benefits and less hours for young and low-wage workers. The study, conducted by Dr. Thomas Ahn of the University of Kentucky, focused on Connecticut because it was the first state to mandate paid sick leave and therefore had the most measurable data. According to Ahn’s research one-third of surveyed businesses reduced other employee benefits to compensate for costs due to the law. One fifth of the businesses either raised prices or reduced staffing levels.
New Haven and West Hartford are looking to create high-speed fiber optic internet systems for all their residents and businesses. These are just two of the 46 municipalities that are part of the CTgig Project, a state-wide effort to increase internet speed and affordability. As city councils and town boards mull the costs and benefits of creating such a system, there are important facts that every taxpayer should know before moving forward.
The definition of affordable housing is changing in Connecticut. What used to mean housing accessible to poor families has become housing accessible to people with well-paying full time jobs. Due to provisions in Connecticut's laws an apartment for $2,100 per month would qualify as affordable. The question is, affordable for whom?
Connecticut has pledged $300,000 to study the possibility of a mileage tax but, as Representative Gail Lavielle notes, the money is wasted because the state would get the results of the study even if it committed no funds at all. Connecticut is part of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, which consists of 16 states along the Atlantic seaboard. Connecticut would receive the results of the pilot study regardless of its cash contribution because the results are shared with all members of the coalition. In all, eleven states are contributing no funds to the study but will still have access to the findings. “Why Connecticut has to be a leader is beyond me,” Lavielle said in an interview.
A finance board meeting Tuesday in small-town Woodstock, Conn., grew contentious as members criticized other town officials for offering employees large health insurance stipends - only to end up receiving the stipends themselves. Board of Finance Vice Chairman Michael Dougherty said the stipend battle is “causing a lot of hate and discontent that’s totally unnecessary.”