While we in Connecticut may have become numb to our last place finishes on state rankings, the latest study shows just how unprepared the state would be if it were hit by another economic downturn or some other crisis. The study, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranks Connecticut in last place out of the 50 states for “fiscal condition.” The rankings for this study take into account things like how much debt the states carry, whether they have a decent rainy day fund, and whether or not they can pay their bills in the short- and long-term.
State employees who teach at Connecticut's colleges and universities won a unique opportunity in 2010: a partial escape from the effects of the Great Recession. The SEBAC ARP Grievance agreement specified that this was a one-time opportunity. However, Connecticut professors are still allowed to switch from the ARP to the state’s pension system because the IRS has not yet ruled the SAG award.
When people think of a major city declaring bankruptcy the city of Detroit often comes to mind with its sky-high crime rates and areas of urban wasteland. But as more and more cities like Hartford find themselves in impossible financial situations, sometimes filing for Chapter 9 can actually be the best alternative. If the city could prove it was insolvent, what would a Hartford bankruptcy look like?
At the Department of Transportation’s training facility in Newington massive sheets of paper are taped to the walls and lined with blue painter’s tape and dotted with multi-colored post-it notes and cut-out paper stars. In the room are perhaps ten employees with the Office of Early Childhood Development. There is a table with snacks of Goldfish crackers and bottled water. This is a Kaizen training session. Part of Connecticut’s LeanCT program aimed at making government more efficient.
This year we’ve tried to shine a light on Connecticut’s bonded debt, as well as our pension and retiree healthcare liabilities. When all of this debt is combined, Connecticut is one of the most indebted states in the nation. A new report by J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest provides additional clarity.
Bledar Iljazi came to the United States as a child in 1986 when his family decided they could no longer live under the government of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Now the entire family - twelve members across three generations - is fleeing Connecticut and pursuing a better life in South Carolina. “The way everything was ten years ago - the economy and taxes - it wasn’t as bad, but right now for small businesses we’re getting hit with taxes left and right. They’re pretty much just making them up,” Bledar said.