Category Archives: State budget

Malloy Promises No New Deficit, Rejects New State Worker Givebacks

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Republicans, State budget Tagged: , Date:

Legislative projections that the state could face a $1.278 billion deficit in the 2015-16 fiscal budget year are simply unrealistic, Gov. Dannel Malloy  said Friday. He also ruled out asking state workers for more concessions.

“We don’t face a deficit,” Malloy said. He said the $1.4 billion deficit forecast by the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis is based on projected state spending increases of more than 7 percent.

“Nobody, no party… is going to advocate increasing our spending by 7.78 percent,” said Malloy, a Democrat running for reelection this year. He said the four-year average for state spending increases is less than half that rate. “This is very much about continuing fiscal restraint,” Malloy said.

The latest $19 billion budget signed into law by Malloy includes a spending increase of about 2.5 percent.

He promised that, if reelected, he would not allow state spending to “blow up the way it did” under the administrations of the two Republican governors who preceded him in office: John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell.

The governor also renewed his promise not to raise taxes. “There will not be a tax increase,” he said.

Malloy also said he has no intention of reopening the concessions deal with state employee unions that was agreed to several years ago. He said that agreement “was the biggest reason that we can look at this [state employee] benefits package as sustainable.”

The state’s budget status is far better today than it was when he took office in 2011, said  Malloy. He said that, when he took office, he “got handed a budget based on people not doing the hard work that needed to be done.”

Senate minority leader John McKinney, who is running for governor, referred to the Belmont Stakes horse race that will be held Saturday in New York on the border of New York City and Nassau County.

“I guess with the big horse race coming up, the governor is trying for his own Triple Crown – no deficits, no new taxes and no concessions,” McKinney said. “I understand that it’s an election year, but I believe the deal Governor Malloy made with the unions is unsustainable for state taxpayers and he knows it. We have a retirement system that allows a judge that works for three years to make a $100,000 pension. State employees have defined-benefit plans that are more generous than virtually anything that is available in the private sector. If we are serious about achieving balanced budgets, we need to open the contract and work together for a real solution that is fair to everyone who lives and works in our state.”

Cities and Towns ‘Pleading’ for No State Aid Cuts, No Unfunded Mandates

by Categorized: Environment, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, Newtown, Sandy Hook, State budget, Uncategorized Tagged: , , Date:

It’s become an annual rite of spring in Connecticut’s legislature: municipal leaders who have already passed their own local budgets arriving at the State Capitol begging lawmakers not to cut aid to cities and towns.

Wednesday morning’s Connecticut Conference of Municipalities news conference focused on the usual worries about what lawmakers would do in the yet-to-be-passed state budget, and hand-wringing about a bunch of other potential General Assembly actions.

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Those include concerns about possible expansion of workman’s compensation for local first responders who witness horrific scenes like the Sandy Hook massacre, a potential ban on use of pesticides on high school grounds, and new local tax exemptions for properties leased to local schools.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he and other mayors and first selectmen are “pleading with our delegations” not to cut from the levels of state municipal aid proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy. “To have any further decreases in those numbers would be really devastating,” Segarra said.

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Budget Committee Approves Minimum Wage Hike; Likely Votes Wednesday

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Barack Obama, Minimum Wage, State budget Date:

After a clash on the merits, the legislature\’s budget-writing committee Monday approved hiking the state\’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017.

The vote was 24 to 17 along party lines with state Sen. Joan Hartley abstaining. Hartley, a conservative Democrat from Waterbury, has broken with her party and voted with the Republicans in recent years on controversial issues. Last year, Hartley voted against hiking the wage to the current level of $8.70 per hour. 

Barring any last-minute snags, both the state Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to vote on the minimum wage hike Wednesday.

In a strong defense of the increase, Rep. Toni Walker, the committee’s co-chairwoman, said those currently earning $8.70 per hour and working 40 hours per week collect less than $350 weekly. The federal poverty level, she noted, for a single mother with two children is $18,096 per year. She said that lawmakers have an obligation of helping workers and “making sure they earn a fair share for what they do’’ in their jobs.

“Who do we represent?’’ Walker asked her fellow committee members. “Who are we here to fight for? We are here for all people of Connecticut, not just a select few.’’

But Republicans rejected the hike as bad for small businesses and bad for job growth.

Sen. Rob Kane, the ranking Senate Republican on the committee, said that hiking the wage would boomerrang and hurt small businesses like the retail store that he owns that sells cellular phones in Waterbury.

“The policy we are setting here today … is more and more government intervention in the lives of people we represent,’’ Kane said. “I’m a small business owner, and next month, God willing, I will be in business 20 years.’’ Continue reading

Q Poll Gives Malloy Top Marks for Storm Management, Weaker Ratings on Economy, Jobs

by Categorized: Economy, Education, Gambling, Gov. Dannel Malloy, State budget, taxes, Uncategorized Date:

Good on snowstorms, not so good on budgets, the economy and jobs.

That\’s one finding of a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s handling of various issues facing the state.

First, the good news for the Democratic governor: 86 percent of voters, including 84 percent of Republicans, approve of the way Malloy is handling this winter\’s snowstorms.

But, according to the poll, Malloy gets weaker grades on economic and budgetary matters. Fifty three percent said they disapprove of the way Malloy is handling the budget, and 63 percent disapprove of the way he is handling taxes.

Almost two-thirds of voters — roughly 60 percent — disapprove of the way Malloy is handling jobs and the economy; 33 percent approve.

Malloy\’s plan to use a portion f the state\’s budget surplus to give state taxpayers a $55 tax refund was branded as a \”political gimmick\” by 63 percent of respondents. Twenty three percent called it \”good public policy.\”

About a third of voters said Malloy\’s economic policies have hurt their personal financial situation while just 6 percent said they have helped — and 57 percent said they have made no difference.

On Malloy\’s education policy, respondents were split: 41 percent approve of his handling of education and 43 percent disapprove, according to the poll.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 36 percent of voters say the economy and jobs should be the priority for Malloy and the legislature while 14 percent said it should be taxes and 11 percent, education.

Asked to assess the state of Connecticut\’s economy, nearly 75 percent rated it as \”not so good\” or \”poor.\” Just 24 percent rated it \”good.\”

The poll also asked about keno, a bingo-like gambling product for bars and restaurants that state lawmakers approved last year and are poised to repeal this year. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they do not think the game should be permitted while 29 percent support it.

 

 

 

State Employees By The Numbers

by Categorized: General Assembly, State budget Date:

The Office of Legislative Research has compiled a demographic breakdown of the state\’s 54,903 public employees. OLR used data from the Office of the State Comptroller\’s office. It includes employees of all branches of government as well as quasi-public agencies.

A few tidbits:

  • The largest group of employees is between 50 and 54 — 9,277.
  • Females outnumber males by almost 2,000.
  • 6 in 10 state employees are between 40 and 60 years of age.
  • Just 4 percent of state employees are age 65 or older, but among those 70 and over, almost 60 percent are male.

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Legislators Discuss Projected Deficit Today

by Categorized: 2014 Election, General Assembly, State budget Date:

The General Assemblty\’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee will take a close look at projections for rising state deficits starting in 2016.

I. CONVENE MEETING

II. PRESENTATIONS OF FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTS

1. Alan Calandro, Director, Office of Fiscal Analysis

2. Benjamin Barnes, Secretary, Office of Policy and Management

III. ADJOURNMENT

This is from a report by of the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis on Nov. 15:

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Winchester Theft Could Close Schools

by Categorized: Education, State budget Date:

\"winchesterThere\’s a lot more to the story of Henry Centralla, whose alleged theft of more than $2 million has led to possible closure of Winchester schools.

Police say the former finance director was an out-of-control gambler who led a double life in Florida financed by money he stole from the town of Winchester.

Kathy Megan takes a close look at what might happen to Winchester schools.

\"winsted\"The flood of 1955 that changed everything in Winsted

DRS Commissioner Sullivan to Tax Scofflaws: Pay Up or We Will Find You

by Categorized: State budget, taxes Date:
The state Department of Revenue Services is launching a sweeping amnesty program that aims to recoup at least $35 million in unpaid taxes.
 
Individual and business tax delinquents as well as dodgers who have never paid state taxes now have a 60-day window to come clean and pay up.
 
This is the fifth time since 1990 that the state has offered a break to tax scofflaws. But unlike past amnesty programs, the current effort covers just about every state tax.
 
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\”The reality in Connecticut, like most states, is that while voluntary compliance is high, very high, too many still do not pay what\’s due when its due,\’\’ Kevin Sullivan, the state\’s commissioner of revenue services, said during a morning news conference kicking off the amnesty program. \”And when that happens…all the rest of of us end up paying for those taxpayers who haven\’t done their [duty].\”
 
About 80,000 taxpayers are currently delinquent on their taxes; the combined total of their liability is $400 million. Another 80,000 have either never filed a return or have under-reported their income, officials said.
 

How A State Employee Gets Fired

by Categorized: State budget Date:

\"jonJon Lender reports on the case of Maryellen Greene, 26-year employee at the Department of Revenue Services:

Because of \”serious misconduct including … substantial misuse of state time and equipment for your outside employment and union activity, the Agency has lost confidence your ability to remain in your position, which is a position requiring integrity and the public trust,\” John Kutsukos, compliance bureau chief at the agency, wrote to Greene on July 30.

Lawmakers Tout Transportation Spending As Boon For Economy

by Categorized: Amtrak, Busway, Congress, Connecticut, Democrats, Economy, Hartford, MetroNorth, Richard Blumenthal, State budget, Transportation Date:

\"train\"With the nation\’s economy still sluggish and calls for budgets to get tighter in Washington and in Hartford, some in Connecticut\’s Congressional delegation insist that the right answer is to spend more–especially on roads, bridges, railways and other projects in the Hartford area and throughout the state.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal pointed to last month\’s Metro-North Commuter Railroad derailment in Bridgeport as an example of the state\’s infrastructure needs. He said federal investigators have found that parts of the track were loose and in disrepair, which might have led to the crash that injured 76 people and caused an estimated $18 million in damages.

\”What we see is the cost of failing to act,\” Blumenthal said. \”I believe that it\’s very likely that the final report of the [National Transportation Safety Board] will show that that accident could\’ve been prevented by more investment.\”

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