Gov. Dannel P. Malloy may have delayed sending out layoff notices to thousands of unionized state employees for a few days, but he didn’t delay his conversation with Democratic leaders regarding his ‘Plan B.’
“It’s ugly,“ House Speaker Chris Donovan said as he exited Malloy’s office Thursday evening.
“We already made tough cuts, any cuts on top of this is ugly,” Sen. President Donald Williams added.
Malloy told a group of editors and publishers Wednesday he would meet with legislative leaders and let them know what his framework would be for cutting $1 billion in spending. The scenario will only be necessary if his negotiator and the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition is unable to get the $2 billion in concessions and savings from the state’s labor union.
Donovan, Williams, House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said Malloy didn’t get into specifics about which programs will be cut, but everything is on the table.
Aside from the spending cuts Looney said there will be layoffs that will go “quite deep.”
He said because the spending cuts could eliminate entire programs it won’t just be “last hired, first out.” Meaning the last employee hired is the first one fired. He said senior state employees could lose their jobs because the cuts would have to go that deep.
“Pretty much everyone is in jeopardy,” Williams said.
Donovan said he will be encouraging labor unions to reach a deal with Malloy because ‘Plan B’ isn’t pretty. It will include cuts to municipal aid and cuts to hundreds of other programs, not mandated by court order. The Department of Education and Department of Children and Families are currently working under court consent orders, so funding for compliance with Sheff v. O’Neill and Juan F. v. O’Neill won’t be cut.
Malloy’s Budget Director Ben Barnes asked state agencies to submit plans to reduce their budgets by 10 percent to him by April 13. The administration then released information about what $1 billion in municipal aid cuts would look like even though cuts that deep were never seriously on the table.
However, municipal aid, which amounts of $3.7 billion a year in state spending may look like an attractive place to find at least some cuts if union negotiations fail.
Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications adviser, said he can’t comment on the details for the framework until Malloy meets with Republican legislative leaders Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the unions said they understand what’s at stake and working hard to come to agreement with the administration.
But SEBAC leaders have long maintained that public sector layoffs will only reduce access to services and add more workers to the state’s unemployment rolls.
“They will also further delay Connecticut’s economic recovery by causing additional job losses in the private sector,” Larry Dorman, SEBAC spokesman said in a statement Thursday.