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.
Civil Service Reform
Recent news reports confirm what many have suspected for some time — young people are leaving Connecticut. How does this relate to pension debt? As a current graduate student who would like to stay in Connecticut after I finish school, I’ll explain. The state has accumulated billions of dollars of pension debt, and now it is trying to figure out how to pay that debt off.
This week the state legislature met to undo some of the damage that they did during the last legislative session. In the late evening on Tuesday, after several hours of debate, lawmakers approved a deficit mitigation package by votes of 20-15 in the Senate, and 75-65 in the House. A few Democrats joined all Republicans legislators in voting against the bill.
Last week, Yankee Institute President Carol Platt Liebau sent a letter to Gov. Malloy and lawmakers to offer support for many of their cost-cutting ideas. PDF Version: Budget Ideas from the Yankee Institute Dear Governor Malloy and Legislative Leaders, Thank you for your efforts to address the problems with Connecticut’s budget now, rather than waiting to make last minute cuts near the end of the fiscal year. We appreciate your bipartisan commitment to reducing spending.
The recent op-ed in the Courant is correct on one count: state employees are not the problem. If not state employees, then who is to blame for the seemingly perpetual state budget deficit? The problem is politicians who, and this won’t surprise anyone, made promises they couldn’t keep.
The study we released today, Unequal Pay: Public Vs. Private Sector Compensation in Connecticut, shows that state employees make an average of 25 to 46 percent more than private sector workers with similar skills and experience. This isn’t fair, and it isn’t sustainable. The study highlights one of the primary reasons for our budget crisis, and at the same time provides a concrete solution – it’s time to reform public sector pay and benefits.