Photographs taken at the Governor’s 2016 Economic Forum in February highlight a number of troubling statistics. - Poverty among minority groups is rising faster than others. - The decline in Connecticut manufacturing jobs has wiped out more than half of all job growth since the 1990s. - Middle-skill jobs in the science and technology sector are the hardest to fill. - Connecticut has some of the highest long-term unemployment rates in the nation.
Marc E. Fitch
The state of Connecticut paid out $28 million in wrongful imprisonment awards in 2015 and 2016, significantly more than in previous years. Lawmakers passed a bill this week creating legislative oversight for those awards and a formula to determine the amount of compensation for a wrongfully convicted individual. Under the proposed legislation the claims commission would be able to award up to twice the median state income per year of incarceration, adjusted for inflation. It also gives the claims commissioner discretion to award an additional 25 percent, but any payout over $20,000 would be subject to legislative review.
The minimum yearly earnings needed to be qualified for unemployment benefits in Connecticut is $600, the third lowest requirement in the nation. The law was set in place in 1967 and has not been raised since. Adjusted for inflation, this figure would be $4,277.82 by today’s standards. A bill before the state Senate would raise Connecticut’s work requirement to $2,000 yearly and make several other adjustments to its unemployment calculations to put the state on equal footing with its neighbors.
Plans to bring more natural gas to New England to lower the region's high energy prices face trouble. Two separate pipeline plans would have brought more natural gas, a relatively clean and low-cost fuel, to the region while investing more than $4 billion in the projects, but one developer dropped its plan last week. Kinder Morgan pulled the plug on its planned regional pipeline that would have invested $3.3 billion in the region. Company officials said in announcing the change in plans that the company could not find the support and consumers necessary to make the investment.
A proposal to create a government-run retirement plan for private employees would ultimately hurt the very people it aims to help, according to testimony from Kim Chamberlain of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association before the Labor and Public Employees Committee. The American Retirement Association, which supports a public retirement system, testified they could not support this legislation “in its current form.” The group labeled the proposed bill “confusing and costly.”
Connecticut is losing better-paying jobs and replacing them with low-paying jobs, according to a study released by the Commission on Economic Competitiveness. The commission had previously attempted to keep the document secret by discussing it in a closed-door executive session, prompting a Yankee Institute complaint to the Freedom of Information Commission.