Concessions Pass House

The House has approved the state employee concessions package by wide margins. CTNJ has the story. I find the comments of Rep. Tom Reynolds and Rep. Shawn Johnston that deferring contributions to the state employee retirement fund delays an inevitable problem most interesting.

So that’s $700 million saved.

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12 responses to “Concessions Pass House

  1. So that’s $700 million saved.

    What if $700 million isn’t enough?

  2. What if $700 million isn’t enough?

    A valid question. But I think it’s unlikely that further concessions will be forthcoming. The rest, I’m guessing, will be made up with service cuts and tax increases.

  3. I watched Cam Staples on WTNH News last night criticizing, inter alia, the no-layoff provision in the agreement. Wonder why he voted for it?

  4. A valid question. But I think it’s unlikely that further concessions will be forthcoming. The rest, I’m guessing, will be made up with service cuts and tax increases.

    That’s my point. Both the State and its unions will jump up and down about the $700 million cutback, but, in reality, it’s only about $320 million per year for the next two fiscal years (and we have about a $18 billion annual budget). This means that we’ve only reduced the budget by about 1.8% with this deal. What if our State employee base is more bloated than that? We’ve locked ourselves into a no-layoffs agreement for two years.

    I think history will show that the State folded too soon on this one.

  5. If deferring payment of another $150 million dollars to a pension fund that is already many billions under funded is considered a real concession, then the state employees have been conceding billions for many years.

    It would seem logical to me that by then offering an early retirement package on top of adding another $150 million dollars to this mess, we are then just digging a deeper hole for our kids to crawl out of.

    Sure, it may now help to “balance” a budget that is already being balanced by not paying it’s current obligations, but it is also just going to help make the pension problem that much worse sooner.

    The only real concession I see here is coming from our kids who will get this new and larger bill to pay so we don’t have to. Of course when is a concession not really a concession? I guess when you are not even aware you are the ones really making the concession.

  6. Joe Sixpack

    Who is Cam Staples kidding? There is no way on God’s green earth that he, or any Dem, would support lay-offs. To brazenly take a shot at the Governor for virtually “assuring tax increases” by conceding no lay-offs is his attempt to shift blame for what the D’s have been planning on all along – huge tax increases.

  7. Seems a bit shortsighted to put layoffs completely off the table. Particularly if the state’s economic situation continues to deteriorate.

  8. Joe Sixpack

    It absolutely is shortsighted, and I think a blunder on the part of the Governor. But does anyone think that the D’s would have allowed lay-offs?

  9. Rep. Cafero said in the debate last night that achieving the same level of savings would have required over 6000 layoffs (over 10% of state employees). Seems like it was a pretty large concession.

    If you do not offer a no layoff provision, how would you ever get the unions to agree to the concessions? They already had contracts. The only real bargaining chip Gov. Rell had was layoffs, so a no layoff provision was all she had to offer in the negotiations. In order to get significantly more in concessions, she would have had to threaten to lay off enough employees to generate savings larger than the savings she got. This would have amounted to a threat to lay off, say, 8000 to 15,000 employees, and the employees that she would have had to lay off would be the newest employees who generally cost the least per employee, do not have the better retirement benefits coming, and are the least powerful members of the unions. Also, the General Assembly would have had to approve the layoffs, which was highly unlikely. Gov. Rell wanted more I am sure, but she got a deal that is not insignificant given her bargaining position.

  10. If you do not offer a no layoff provision, how would you ever get the unions to agree to the concessions? They already had contracts.

    You say, “we can’t afford your workforce, and we’re cutting X%.” Then you direct your departments to lay off X% of their staffs. This is not hard to figure out.

  11. “If you do not offer a no layoff provision, how would you ever get the unions to agree to the concessions? They already had contracts.”

    Now not only do the state workers have those rich contracts as pointed out, but the only meaningful concession made in this entire deal is to add a no lay off clause to them. That concession comes at far too high a price for us taxpayers.

    I wouldn’t mind so much if these unions who have now managed to add job security to their already rich list of benefits would shut up as the laugh themselves silly over this. But no, now they have the gall to suggest those who already pay all the bills, and provide all the jobs that pay for their rich contracts don’t pay their fair share. As far as I know those who pay all the taxes, will continue to pay at least as much as before but without needing the promise of job security to do what is right.

  12. Is it possible that they agreed to no layoffs because it would be difficult to ask some agencies to agree to layoffs and not others? Some agencies provide essential services and cannot afford reductions in staff. In order to avoid problems and in order to get this deal done, no layoffs may have been absolutely necessary.

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