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.
The traditional image of the union member as being a working class, blue collar factory worker has been replaced by a new reality: the state-employed bureaucrat enjoying perks and high pay at taxpayer expense. Figures show that six in 10 union members work for government. While some of them plow roads and keep us safe, many more are social workers, white-collar administrators and highly paid professors. Connecticut ranks fourth in the nation for the number of union members who work for government after only New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey.