State Workers Urge Governor and General Assembly to Focus on Jobs in Wake of Passing Deficit Mitigation Planby Matt O'Connor on April 15th
Leaders and members of the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) are reacting to passage of the General Assembly’s 2010 budget deficit mitigation package. Both the House and Senate passed the package this week and the governor signed the bill yesterday. The plan relied largely on an additional $100 million in savings from the coalition’s 2009 agreement, which is now expected to provide nearly $1 billion towards the previous and current biennium, as well as an additional $60 million in federal reimbursements from the stimulus package.
But the remainder of the cost savings came from still more cuts to public services. While the package contained fewer cuts than what the governor originally proposed, because of her adamant opposition to revenue increases even from multi-millionaires, the plan continues the illusion that we can cut our way out of Connecticut’s economic crisis. The plan does nothing to provide jobs or help struggling families, which leading economists from both sides of the political spectrum have consistently said is what matters most in spurring real long-term recovery.
“It is good to see the governor finally working with legislative leaders towards a common goal,” said Blair Bertaccini, a wage enforcement officer with the Connecticut Department of Labor and president of AFSCME Local 269. “However she really needs to work with legislative leaders on the fundamental economic issue facing the state – jobs. It’s the budgets of the people, not the budget of the state that our elected leaders should be most concerned with,” Bertaccini said
SEBAC members and leadership presented their “Jobs for All Working Families” proposals to Governor M. Jodi Rell and her Administration in January. The plan provided clear and distinct ideas for jump starting Connecticut’s economy, increasing government efficiency, and creating job growth. In the following days of the legislative session, members of SEBAC’s unions will continue to remind political leaders that the people have waited long enough for bold action that will help end the recession not just on Wall Street, but for the working families that make up the vast majority of Connecticut’s people.
“The legislature’s vote is a reminder that Governor Rell and the legislature must work on a serious plan to put people back to work,” said Vincent Steele, a correctional lieutenant with the State Department of Correction. “We cannot afford politicians who play it safe. What we need is an FDR of our time with the wisdom and the courage to lead us toward a more prosperous and economically secure future. What we need are leaders who understand that helping working families improve their budgets is how you balance the state budget. You do that by getting the people of Connecticut back to work,” Steele, a member of CSEA/SEIU Local 2001, said.
The budget did provide one small victory for vital public services in that funding for the licensed practicing nurse program was preserved. This program provides training for LPNs who serve the vulnerable aging in population in Connecticut. It is exactly these types of services, those that impact both the health and well-being of our seniors as well as the economic future of hard working citizens, that SEBAC has and will continue to fight to protect.
Local 269 and CSEA are two of the thirteen unions in the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), which serves to unite approximately 45,000 Connecticut State Employees to address issues of common concern. To learn more about the coalition’s campaign for a fair budget and a livable state with great public services visit www.InThisTogetherCT.org.
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State Workers ‘Jobs for All Working Families’ Proposals (18-Point Plan)