HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Nearly another 500 state employee layoffs were announced by the Malloy administration Tuesday. It comes on the day that a state employee union launches a media campaign focusing on a multi-million dollar state giveaway to the largest hedge fund in the world.
A total of 492 more pink slips in the state Department of Developmental Services was announced Tuesday afternoon, just as the health care workers union (District 1199) is going on the attack on TV and the internet.
On their TV ad, former state employee Julie Higgins says; “Cutting services for mental health addiction and the disabled, laying off middle class tax paying workers who provide those services while giving $22-million of tax payer dollars to the world’s largest hedge fund.”
The union’s TV ad says this is especially troublesome in the midst of the current opioid crisis.
The hedge fund that is getting the state loan is Bridgewater Associates, whose founder, Ray Dalio, is reported to be the richest man in Connecticut. The loan is to help build a $500-million expansion of their headquarters in Westport.
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Julie Higgins was laid off in April after more than seven years with the state Department of Health and Addiction Services.
“Having given the hedge fund $22-million where….instead of laying off thousands of workers…just…I can’t fathom that,” she told News 8.
A spokesman in the Governor’s office says despite the recent layoffs, funding for behavioral health has gone up $90 million since Malloy took office. They also say that Bridgewater is creating hundreds of very high-income tax paying jobs and that if Bridgewater had left the state, it would have been worse than the loss of GE.
“People would be critical if Bridgewater was adding 700 jobs to Westchester County [N.Y.] and not in Fairfield County,” said Gov. Malloy back on May 27, the day the Bridgewater deal was approved by the State Bonding Commission,
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Julie says services are curtailed and makes this dire prediction; “I think come September they’re going to find a lot of dead addicts.”
Julie says that some addicts not getting full services now, may be living in the outdoors in the warm weather and they could end up falling through larger and larger cracks in the treatment system caused by the layoffs.
1199 officials released the following statement to News 8 Tuesday afternoon;
“The Governor’s proposal would decimate our state’s ability to provide services for the disabled. Services for the intellectually and developmentally should be a core function of our state. If the state can find $22 million to give to the world’s largest hedge fund than surly they can find the money to keep the disabled in the only home many of them have ever known. We urge the Governor to find a better way than balancing the budget on the backs of the disabled.”