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.
Connecticut officials are set to approve $78 million of borrowing Friday to pay for new and improved affordable housing with unit prices reaching as high as $249,000 for apartments in Norfolk. Gov. Dannel Malloy announced the projects Wednesday. The State Bond Commission, controlled by the administration, will vote on the projects Friday. The administration announced the plan as part of its drive to create quality, affordable housing to spur economic growth and investment in the state.
With the news that General Electric is leaving Fairfield for Boston fresh in the mind of lawmakers, 2016 can be a year of opportunity for Connecticut. It can be, that is, if lawmakers make it one. We can argue over blame, but that would be a distraction. We can give up, but that would be a shame. But if we accept that policy needs an altered direction we can build on our state’s strengths, prevent future losses like GE and bring new opportunities to Connecticut.