If nothing had changed, Connecticut would not be trapped in the situation it is now. But Connecticut also allows collective bargaining agreements to supersede state law, allowing subsequent SEBAC agreements to once again underfund state employee pensions.
Gov. John Rowland
More than 27,000 current state employees are receiving cash payouts or extra vacation time as the result of a lawsuit settlement with Connecticut’s state employee unions, which dates back to 2003.
Reports surfaced Monday about a tentative deal between Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state employee labor unions to achieve $1.5 billion in concessions over the next two years and extend the state employee contract to 2027. However, a five year contract extension will mean Connecticut will be saddled with the union deal, negotiated by Gov. John Rowland, for as long as most people have mortgages.
Payments awarded to state employees through a 2015 SEBAC settlement includes a 5 percent interest rate from the date of loss in 2003. Due to the size of the settlement and the number of claims to be processed some payments are delayed and will result in accruing more interest, adding to the financial burden taxpayers must cover.
A 2003 lawsuit by the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition against Gov. John Rowland has increased the Connecticut budget deficit by $18 million according to figures released by the Office of Fiscal Analysis. The OFA estimated a $20.8 million shortfall at the Office of the State Comptroller due to adjudicated claims. “Approximately $18 million of the projected deficiency is for estimated payments for the SEBAC v. Rowland Settlement.”
A major state political party is under federal investigation. Is this 2016, or has Connecticut collectively flashed back to 2004 when its governor resigned and headed off to federal prison? Connecticut has used a unique approach to financing political campaigns since 2008, inspired by the downfall of Gov. John Rowland. The scheme, called the Citizens’ Election Program (CEP), awards taxpayer money to all candidates who can raise small donations from a set number of people. CEP was supposed to replace the stereotypical big-money politics funded by special interests. Or so we were told.