In the next 24 hours, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sit down with legislative leaders to detail his philosophy for cutting $1 billion from the two-year $40.11 budget that he will sign Wednesday afternoon.
The General Assembly gave final passage to the budget at midnight, but it doesn’t include the $2 billion in labor concessions Malloy has been negotiating with state employee unions. With layoff notices going out to more than 4,000 state employees later this week, Malloy said he is working on his ‘Plan B’ that will include large-scale programmatic spending cuts to a budget he hasn’t even signed yet.
“I had said routinely over the past month that it will be large-scale programmatic cuts and layoffs,” Malloy told a group of editors and publishers at the governor’s mansion Wednesday morning. “I’m going to share with them what our philosophy is in greater detail and what we’re looking at on a programmatic basis from which to make choices.”
Since Malloy has yet to have the conversation with legislative leaders he refused to expound further on what his philosophy will be in cutting $1 billion from the budget.
Meanwhile, Malloy’s administration and the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, which represents 13 bargaining groups and more than 45,000 state employees, continue their discussions on the concessions and savings. If they are able to reach agreement there won’t be any further cuts, but section 12 of the budget left the door open for the General Assembly to return and help Malloy cut $1 billion if negotiations fail.
“Connecticut cannot afford a ‘Plan B’ filled with layoffs, cuts in vital public services, and cuts in aid to towns and cities that would only make things worse for everyone,“ Larry Dorman, spokesman for SEBAC said in a statement Wednesday morning. “We will continue to do whatever we can to be part of a fair solution.”
But the union’s idea of a fair solution and Malloy’s idea of a fair solution may differ.
“It’s not fair or realistic to expect middle-class people who happen to work for the state to each cut $22,000 a year from our family annual budgets,” Dorman said. “Especially when we, like all middle class families, are already paying 10 percent of our income in state and local taxes, while millionaires are only paying 5 percent of their income and some of our largest corporations are paying little or no taxes at all.”
Malloy has maintained state employee benefits and wages are unsustainable.
“Honestly, we need to restructure our relationship with our employees. I‘ve been very clear about that for a long period of time,” Malloy said. “We’ve said it had to be shared sacrifice that that includes our employee base one way or the other.”
Malloy, who said he will lay out his roadmap before the end of the week, said it includes, “large-scale layoffs of state employees and large-scale programmatic changes.“
Malloy said he plans on presenting a roadmap for what the future holds before the end of the week, but if he has to cut $1 billion “everything is on the table,” including municipal aid.
Derek Slap, spokesman for Senate President Donald Williams, said he doesn’t think anyone is looking forward to the next step, but legislative leaders understand it’s a necessity.
“It needed to be addressed and the budget passed makes very clear the legislature will have a seat at the table,” Slap said.