In response to Gov. Dannel Malloy's planned budget cuts, the SEIU, District 1199, released a television ad Monday featuring some of its members declaring that they are “not a political football.” However, based on some of the salary and benefit packages these workers received it would appear they have already scored a touchdown.
Governor Malloy is spending this week in Puerto Rico at the annual Democratic Governors Association meeting and then taking some time off with his family. Puerto Rico is facing bankruptcy and looking for a federal bailout. Years of poor fiscal policies, government cronyism, overreach and interference in the free market has left the island-state with high unemployment and crippling debt. Hopefully the policy lessons of Puerto Rico’s struggles will not be lost on the governor. The island may be pretty but the economic challenges it faces - like Connecticut’s - are pretty ugly.
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.