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.
Administrators at the University of Connecticut want the board of trustees to approve a new contract for non-teaching employees. The trustees should refuse and ask for a better deal, for students and for the people of Connecticut. This year most state employees will negotiate a new wage contract. One bargaining unit, made up of state police, agreed on a contract last year. These contracts only cover the wage schedules and working conditions for state employees because healthcare and retirement benefits are handled separately on a statewide basis through a process known by the acronym SEBAC.
Currently, lawmakers get the same benefits that state employees receive through contract negotiations. This gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. Instead, lawmakers should repeal this law and set their benefits separate from benefits for other state employees. Similarly, state employees in management receive the same benefits as those set by collective-bargaining agreements. Even the negotiators sitting across the table from the unions get the same benefits. Lawmakers should set the benefits of any state employees not covered by collective-bargaining agreements separately from unionized employees and by statute.
While the saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is true, so is the opposite – if something isn’t working, then fix it. From watching sports, we know the rules of a game can determine its outcome. Better rules in Hartford could help change up the results we get from our legislative process.
An audit of the State Comptroller’s Office reveals that Connecticut has not been using Generally Accepted Accounting Practice as required by law. By applying GAAP standards, the audit found that Connecticut’s net position is negative $35.3 billion, $22.7 billion further in the red than reported in 2014.