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.
Every generation is a part of history -- few in a generation have the chance to make history. Everyone within and without this chamber starts at such a threshold this evening. I've made my choice and although the path to it was trying, I feel great.
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.
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.
General Electric announced this week it would move its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, Mass., highlighting the need for policies focused on increasing opportunity for all Connecticut residents. While many officials tried to cast blame elsewhere, GE officials warned lawmakers the company would consider moving if they went ahead with what amounted to a 40 percent increase in corporate taxes.
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.