On July 18, 2017, State Employees gathered in Hartford at the CSEA Union Hall Tuesday to announce that union members have voted to affirm the concession agreement between State employees and the Malloy administration by a vote of 83% to 17%.
The House of Representatives followed up on July 24, voting by a narrow 78-72 margin, almost entirely along party lines. On July 31, the Senate did the same by the narrowest of margins — 18 Democrats for, 18 Republicans against, with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman breaking the tie.
The new agreement meets the estimated $1.57 billion in savings over two years that was Governor Malloy’s target to help fill the biennium state budget deficit.
Even more impressive, independent analyses by the actuarial firms Cavanaugh McDonald and Segal Consulting affirm that this agreement will save the State of Connecticut $24 billion dollars in the coming years.
“While State Employees are not the cause of the revenue shortfall driving Connecticut’s budget deficit, we have agreed to step up and help solve it,” said state education consultant, Agnes Quinones, a proud CSEA member. “We felt it was a necessary sacrifice to protect the important services that we dedicate our lives to. This is a sacrifice being made predominantly by middle-class families, and it is a sacrifice that to-date has not been asked of, nor offered by the wealthy or corporations in this state. There are those who have criticized this plan as not being harmful enough to the state workers. What those critics fail to understand is that the best agreements are not measured by how much pain they cause but by how much good they do, and this agreement gets our state’s financial situation to a much better place than we would be in otherwise.”
“State workers who provide invaluable services to our communities just saved the state $1.56 billion over the next two years. Meanwhile closing the carried interest tax loophole would generate $550 million in savings. Another $500 million in revenue could be generated by increasing the capital gains tax rate and taxes on the most wealthy. Those policies deserves as much attention from legislators who were seeking savings from middle class workers,” Darnell Ford, worker at the Department of Children and Families and a member of District 1199 NE.
“What we’re saying now is that you should be asking the wealthy who can afford it and the corporations to do their part. We cannot be the only part of the solution,” Ford added.
The unions who make up SEBAC released the following statement:
“We commend the State Senators who voted yes and Lieutenant Governor Wyman for doing the right thing on behalf of Connecticut and its working and middle-class families.
“The passage of the SEBAC agreement secures $1.5 billion in savings in the biennium and $24 billion over the next two decades while protecting vital public services, that all Connecticut residents depend on. We urge the Senate to build on today’s momentum to develop a budget that serves the interest of all of Connecticut’s residents.
“Today’s vote is a clear rejection of the right-wing, out of state money that sought to influence the direction of our state. Their campaign was based on false claims and misinformation and did not win in Connecticut today. There is no doubt that these special interest groups will continue their efforts in the upcoming budget debates but hopefully like today the voices of middle-class families will prevail.
“In Connecticut, the very wealthy pay a lower percentage of their income in state and local taxes than working and middle-class families do. This is a level of unfairness that our state just can’t afford and we hope the General Assembly passes a fair and moral budget for all Connecticut residents.”
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