Connecticut teachers would be wise to avoid leaving the profession early if they hope to see a return on their pension contributions, according to a new study published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think-tank. According to the study, which looked at teacher pension systems in all fifty states, Connecticut public school teachers must work a minimum of 25 years before their pension benefit will equal more than they paid into the system, after adjusting for inflation.
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.
The estimated costs for renovating and expanding Holland Hill Elementary School in Fairfield have grown from $9 million to $21 million since planning began in 2015. But a town watchdog group called Fairfield Taxpayer published a lengthy critique of the project on January 8 making the case that the project needs to be curtailed in light of the increased costs and fiscal problems at the state level which have resulted in decreased education and school construction funding to towns.
Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget chief told the appropriations committee Tuesday that, despite a pension agreement between the governor’s office and a group of state employee unions, Connecticut will face “a relatively brutal” increase in pension costs equal to 10 percent of the budget by 2023. The pension deal would essentially refinance the existing pension payments by extending them through 2046 to make up for a $16.5 billion funding shortfall.
One in five pension checks for retired Connecticut state employees are mailed out of state, according to October figures provided by the state comptroller’s office. Every month more than $25 million in pension payments goes out of state but a proposed bill in the General Assembly would impose a 30 percent “forwarding fee” on those funds.