In his budget address, Governor Dannel Malloy asked for middle class families, including state employees, to make significant sacrifices. While state workers agree that these are difficult times, it is our belief that Connecticut has a revenue problem and not a spending problem.
Asking middle class workers to accept higher taxes, and asking those middle class workers who are state employees to accept $1 billion in concessions, while asking Connecticut’s wealthiest residents to increase their tax rate only two-tenths of one percent does not seem balanced to us.We need to make sure the solutions don’t revolve around punishing middle class workers and slashing vital public services that help the people the governor wants to protect. To that end, state workers have offered the Malloy Administration ideas to produce savings and efficiencies that don’t damage, and in fact enhance, the critical services and public structures needed to turn the economy around.
We firmly believe these ideas will generate significant savings to protect education, health care, public safety and all the vital services our members provide.
Our coalition has previously stressed that discussions so far have not included collective bargaining issues. Should that change, not only would our members need to be informed, but those discussions would not take place through the media. We have never found “bargaining through the press” to be an effective way to work together to reach agreements.
At the same time, the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) joins many other groups in expressing concerns that the broad structure of the budget suggests too much emphasis on cuts, and not enough on raising revenue from Connecticut’s largest corporations and very wealthy.
Connecticut is already the fifth leanest state in the country in terms of public spending. Meanwhile, the very rich pay less than half what the middle class pays in state and local taxes (4.9% of income as compared to 10%), and many big corporations like Bank of America pay no state income taxes at all.
And, thanks to the extension of the Bush cuts, Connecticut’s wealthiest five percent of wage earners realized a $3 billion windfall last year.
We agree with the governor that Connecticut will get through this difficult time, and that by the broad constructive engagement of Connecticut’s people, we will find the right balance of savings, revenue, and investments in Connecticut’s future. We look forward to working with a broad coalition of Connecticut’s working and middle class families, the administration, and the General Assembly to find the right balance that moves our state towards a better future.
To learn more about SEBAC’s campaign for a fair budget and a livable state with great public services visit www.InThisTogetherCT.org.