Friday, July 8, 2011

Connecticut's Problems May Hit Home

When Dan Malloy won the job of our state Governor I was delighted, but not for the reasons that most of his fans and supporters were. While my friends were rather perplexed, and really did not understand my affinity for Mr. Malloy I had to clarify my support of him.

This support was mostly based on my disdain for partisan bickering in Hartford. I personally believe, and have seen, that whenever, a single branch of the state Capitol is controlled by another party the blame is quickly shifted on that branch of government as if they are the cancerous evil that is the demise of society. With the Democrats in firm control over all three branches of government we have addressed the issue of the "Blame Game" and since we are in a Great Recession who is better suited to fire state employees than the people and parties who they lobbied for and spent millions to put in office.

Dan Malloy is making Wisconsin's Walker look like a Liberal, not because Malloy is or is not a Liberal but because he inherited a state that is much like the HMS Titanic after it hit an Iceberg. While everyone on board in the State of Connecticut is going on as if all is well, and some feel that their years of service entitle them to job security, our Governor is swimming in an unbalanced pool of debt that some call an illegal budget. One person in particular challenging this "illegal budget" in court is Republican Tom Scott. The unions are currently panicked, their austerity vote was rejected, and last minute midnight deals and special sessions are in the works to make the impossible possible.

Unions are now blaming their own voting rules for requiring more than 51% to pass a wage measure. The state of Connecticut employs some 48,000 people and the numbers of layoffs have been estimated from as few as 5,000 to as many as 10,000. However in the words of our Independent Democratic senator Gayle Slossberg, she voted against the Malloy budget because it did not seriously address the issue of "New spending" in a serious financial situation.  Slossberg said that the "budget shortfall is so severe that the Governor could lay off all 48,000" employees and still not fill the budget gap. That aside she found it upsetting that the Malloy budget included funds for "the restoration of an Opera house" in the wake of layoffs.

As of yet no state employees have been let go, but the longer the structural deficit issue looms on, the more severe the budget constraints on the state labor unions become. These unions have many reasons to be concerned, not just over their loss of a job, but also over their pension obligations that are also  underfunded and set to fail sometime in the year 2019-2020. Ct not only cnnot afford its employees but it cannot afford their pensions either. The notion that layoffs will fix the problem is also a paradox because unemployment of that many people will hurt the state economy, especially if it accompanies a tax increase during a bad economic period. The state of Connecticut will also need to set aside 100's of millions of dollars to pay all of the expected unemployment claims that could linger on for up to 99 weeks.

Moving forward Milford's city leaders should start taking our wasteful spending issues seriously. There is a very likely event on the horizon that will require us to prepare for the inevitable and eventual cuts to our town. The cuts could entail and include our road improvement subsidies, our manufacturing credits, our grants, our education dollars or anything else they decide to eliminate. The final word of this post today should be to mention that Governor Chris Christie of N.J. is laughing at Connecticut's Solitaire playing legislators and Malloy's reticence to make effective management decisions.

No comments: