As Connecticut’s legislature moves forward debating bills, know that Yankee Institute is at the capitol giving voice to the hard-working people of Connecticut. In just the last week, Yankee Institute has testified in person or in writing on 13 bills brought up for public hearings. Here is a list of the ideas we supported and opposed.
The University of Connecticut paid one dozen employees large settlements - many over $100,000 - to get them to resign and keep quiet about their time in state government, according to state auditors. Other agencies participated in the practice, too, although less frequently. The Auditors of Public Accounts faulted the practice because the agreements lacked oversight from the governor or attorney general as required by law and keeps potential whistleblowers from speaking out.
Facing a $3 billion deficit over the next two years, Malloy appears poised to propose a budget that achieves balance without significantly raising state taxes. At the same time, Malloy's changes to education funding could result in property tax increases in some towns. Malloy's proposal has three main components: changing the Education Cost Sharing formula, creating a separate fund for special education and changing the minimum budget requirement for towns.
Connecticut state agencies are making payments in excess of $100,000 to departing employees in order to avoid lawsuits or to keep the employee quiet about their issues working for the state. The payments were revealed in the state auditors 2016 report to the General Assembly. The auditors found that these payments were not part of any legal settlement made by the Attorney General’s office, nor were they authorized by the governor as required by state statute.
Connecticut was one of sixteen states that saw an increase in the number of union members. The percentage of workers represented by labor unions grew from 17.4 percent in 2015 to 18.4 percent in 2016. Nationally, the rate of unionization fell. There was a dramatic 61 percent increase in the number of people who decline union membership while still being represented by a union for collective bargaining - sometimes known as agency fee payers.
Faced with mounting retiree healthcare costs, Connecticut towns are making changes to get out of the healthcare business altogether. Matt Gallagan, town manager of South Windsor, said they no longer provide health benefits for retirees. Instead retirees can purchase a health plan through the town. South Windsor is one of several towns and cities that have moved away from providing long-term health benefits for their retirees.