We don’t get to say these words nearly enough, so we’re giving him a great big shout out: GOVERNOR MALLOY, YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. Yesterday the Malloy Administration told state agency leaders that the 3 percent pay raises nearly 2,000 non-union staff and political appointees expected to receive this Thursday have been cancelled.
Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget will get torn to pieces over the next two months by lawmakers and special interests. Let’s take a time out to acknowledge one subtle but important improvement in Malloy’s proposal. Currently, each state agency budget has responsibility for its payroll, but not the fringe benefits for its employees. Instead healthcare and pension contributions fall under their own department, comptroller non-functional. By separating responsibility for pay and benefits, we get unintended and less-than-ideal results.
As you know, many families already struggle to pay for the cost of a college education. Students are coming out of school deeply in debt. Our state’s flagship school, the University of Connecticut, has become a world-renowned research university, in no small part because of the state’s continued financial commitment. But more and more students are getting priced out of this public university because of tuition increases. Tuition at the University of Connecticut is expected to go by 31 percent over the next four years, which is likely to vastly outpace inflation and income increases in the private sector.
Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. resigned Friday amid a controversy over a $16.8 million wrongful imprisonment settlement raising questions about how best to determine future payouts. Over the past 10 years, the state of Connecticut has given out 11 wrongful imprisonment settlements totaling $39 million for an average claim of $3.5 million per claimant. All but one settlement of $5 million occurred in the past two years.
We at the Yankee Institute support the Governor’s budget plan. We know it is a bitter pill. Like you, we agonize over the hardships it will impose on some of the most vulnerable residents of our state. But even so, we have concluded that, at this point, it is necessary to make these difficult cuts in order to put the state back on a more sustainable path.
The Department of Motor Vehicles, which recently saw its commissioner resign amid serious customer service problems, spent $1.9 million on overtime in the first six months of fiscal year 2016, already exceeding the $1.7 million spent in 2015. DMV overtime is only likely to increase with a backlog of hundreds of thousands of requests. Gov. Dannel Malloy recently appointed Dennis Murphy, former deputy commissioner of the Labor Department, to replace Andres Ayala as DMV commissioner.