Connecticut has been meeting its payments for the past few years. This is commendable and responsible behavior. Too many states, fearing the immediate implications of budget crowd-out, choose to pay less than 100 percent of their required contributions. However, the Connecticut pensions systems’ structural problems make even 100 percent payments woefully insufficient. Debt levels are going up, in part because of inflated discount rates.
Connecticut voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional spending cap in 1992, but lawmakers still haven’t defined the three terms in the amendment that would make it work. Earlier this year, lawmakers created a Spending Cap Commission to recommend definitions. The hope is that lawmakers will adopt them next year. The commission has ...
Connecticut union leaders signed off on pension underfunding each time it happened, according to the state’s top union official and expert testimony before the Spending Cap Commission last month. At the Sept. 26 commission meeting, AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier said union leaders agreed to underfund the state employee pension in exchange for better benefits for workers, even though they knew it was “not a good idea.” Pelletier said Connecticut is now “left holding that basket.”
An independent arbitrator sided with the town of West Hartford last month in a dispute between the town and the police union over whether overtime pay can be included in pension calculations for officers who retire with 25 to 30 years of service. The decision, issued on August 29, held that pensions for officers hired under the 2006 union contract would be calculated using "average base pay," which excludes overtime compensation.
Connecticut teachers receive the highest average pensions, while Connecticut state employees rank second according to an analysis by a New Jersey based actuary. Connecticut’s teachers averaged $50,502 in pension payments putting them in the top spot, ahead of Illinois. State employees ranked second in the nation, behind California, with average pensions of $40,438.
Figures released Tuesday by the Office of Fiscal Analysis show Connecticut made big strides in reducing overtime, despite recent state employee layoffs. In fiscal year 2016, state agencies reduced overtime payments by 14.5 percent, $37 million less than the previous year. The biggest reduction in overtime came from the Department of Correction, which reduced overtime by $21.4 million, followed by the Department of Developmental Services, which reduced overtime spending by $5.2 million.