Gov. Dannel P. Malloy joined the crew of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday, just four days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was on the show laughing at him for raising taxes and not getting the state employee concessions he needed to balance the budget.
Christie said Malloy was lecturing him, but Malloy told Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough he doesn’t think he was lecturing Christie.
“He started talking about allowing states to go bankrupt. How did that go for him? People say things that sometimes don’t make sense. This is a debate that’s more important than who has the bigger belt. It’s policy,” said Malloy.
It’s unclear if the feud between the governors will continue because the topic quickly changed to how Connecticut is dealing with its employee unions.
“Many say you bent over backward and they rejected package. Do you now have to start cutting employees?” Scarborough asked.
“Yeah,” Malloy said.
The process of laying off 6,700 people began yesterday, Malloy said.
“I told them I would do that,“ Malloy said. “Connecticut has to balance the budget in short term basis, which a lot of people are concentrating on. I‘m concentrating on a long term basis.”
He talked about how the pension fund is only funded at 42 percent and while he didn’t mention him by name he talked about how 17 years ago former Gov. John G. Rowland signed a 20 year contract for pension and post retirement benefits with the state employees’ union.
Malloy said he reached an agreement with labor leaders over a concession package which passed with 57 percent of the votes, but because of the “arcane” rules established by the union coalition “57 percent doesn’t win an election.”
“Quite frankly that can’t be tolerated. We’ve got to correct the situation,” Malloy said. “So now I’m in a position where I have a balanced budget. The budget requires me to layoff 6,700 people.”
“But I ’m hopeful that we’ll all get back to the table. That the package that was negotiated will be approved one way or another,” Malloy said for the first time signaling his desire to see unions find a solution to the situation they find themselves in based on the rules of the union coalition.
“That we don’t have to tear families apart by laying off one or two of the parents in the family. This is not a situation where you want to lay a lot of people off,” Malloy said. “But it is time to look ourselves in the mirror and wake up.”
The show concluded with Scarborough asking Malloy, as he’s done with other governor’s including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, to reflect on his first few months in office and talk about what he would do differently.
“The maturation process takes place throughout one’s life,“ Malloy said. “You garner new experiences and you take those experiences and you move forward.”
“Listen, my elbows may have been a little sharp from time to time. I know people think that. I also know that I move at a pretty quick pace. I know I exhausted the press in doing 17 town hall meetings in a period of about four or five weeks, but I was out there trying to have people understand that it’s not just today’s problem that these are systemic and long-term problems that need to be solved.”