Are state employee furloughs coming?

State Capitol in Hartford (WTNH / Tom Parent)

COLCHESTER & HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Some state lawmakers are now saying that state employee furloughs are on the table in an effort to offset those painful budget cuts announced by Governor Malloy last month.

Malloy spent some time at a vineyard in Colchester Monday, while Democrats on the legislature’s Appropriations Committee were considering picking some of the low hanging fruit in the state budget in order to reverse some of the $103 million in painful cuts he announced two weeks ago.

“Furloughs for non-unionized employees are on the table, and are part of an overall package of potential cost savings that some members of the committee are considering,” said Appropriations Committee co-chair Beth Bye.

But the Republican leader in the Senate, Len Fasano (R-North Haven), says that will never work. “It’s only, for non-union, $1 million dollars, and we’re $103 million. You’re going to ask people to give up 100 days? This is a drop in the bucket.”

Malloy has acknowledged that his administration is in negotiations now with most of the state employee unions for contracts that expire next July 1.

Republicans say it will take more concessions from state employee unions to get a real grip on the budget shortfalls.  

“This is a doomed budget, they know it, they want everybody to pay for their mistakes,”  added Fasano.

But the chief negotiator for the unions seems to be ruling that out.

“State employees have shared and will continue to share ideas for savings which can improve effectivness and efficiency of state government,”  said Atty. Dan Livingston.

Malloy says there is already about $60 million in savings by job eliminations in the budget, but acknowledged Mopnday that it may take more than that.  

“Quite frankly if everybody has to do something more, then everybody will do something more,” he said. “That’s what we have to.”

The big fallout from the budget cuts Monday is in regards to hospitals. Hartford HealthCare says it is suspending its talks with Day Kimball Healthcare in Putnam.  One of the big bosses at Hartford Healthcare said the cuts make it difficult to create a path forward with Day Kimball right now.

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