HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State employee layoffs are now underway, according to the Governor. It comes as negotiations for hundreds of millions in concessions continue but so far, no breakthrough. It’s the first of what could be thousands of state employee layoffs as both the Governor and legislative leaders from both parties say there must be a minimum of $700 million in concessions for next year, and $800 million or more the next.
When asked about the negotiation sessions this week, he seemed to be weighing his answer very carefully, “We are in discussions. Discussions have been respectful. I hope that they’ll lead to an agreement that will….that will help the state move forward.”
Because of legal obligations under the contracts, Malloy would release no further details and said that negotiations for concessions are continuing, but must be achieved very soon. The Governor on Friday also took a chance to criticize legislative leaders saying, “Leaders of the legislature don’t want to do the hard things and this is all about doing hard things.”
That was a pointed jab at House leaders who are very critical of Malloy’s proposed cuts this week in municipal aid. Senate Democrats this week said they will be proposing an extremely austere budget that will rein in expenditures in accordance with the revenue that is currently available. “In that budget there is no increase planned in either the Sales or the Income Tax,” said Appropriations Co-chair Sen. Cathy Osten (D-Sprague).
Republicans have already done that once and so has the Governor. But when asked if that meant a final budget will not include any Sales or Income Tax hike, Senate Democratic leader Martin Looney said, “Of course not…that would foreclose debate give and take. We are going to be interacting with the Governor and with our Republican colleagues so nothing is either on the table or off the table for sure.”
The Governor announced that he will be joining President Trump for the Coast Guard Academy graduation next Wednesday and then is expected to rush back to the Capitol for full fledged budget negotiations with legislative leaders.