STATEMENT FROM CO-CHAIRS OF THE COMMISSION ON FISCAL STABILITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH REGARDING MAY 7 REPUBLICAN BUDGET PROPOSAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

The Republican budget submitted today includes action upon – or further study of – many of the recommendations made by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth in its March 1 report to the Governor and the legislature.  

Commission Co-Chairmen Jim Smith and Bob Patricelli said in a statement, "Since the Commission submitted its report, we have been actively presenting and discussing our recommendations  with all legislative leaders and their caucuses. We are grateful for the receptivity and genuine interest we've received from all parties. Now the Republican budget is providing a legislative vehicle for many of our recommendations, understanding others need further study and cannot realistically be taken up in the remaining days of this short session.  We urge the General Assembly to enact these measures now.”  

 

Among the Commission's primary recommendations included in the budget are:

  • Establishment of a new panel to report by January 1, 2019 on the Commission's proposals concerning the rebalancing of state taxes to better stimulate economic growth without raising net new taxes, including a review of methods to broaden the sales and use tax base and options to expand municipal revenue sources (SEC. 110);

 

  • Issuance by Office of Policy and Management  of a request for proposals to hire a national consultant to make recommendations on improving efficiencies in collecting revenue and managing state agency expenses, resulting in at least $500 million in savings without adverse impact on the quality of state programs or social service program benefits (SEC. 111);

 

  • Appointment of a study panel to review the Commission’s recommendations for reform of the Teachers’ Retirement System including the creation of a hybrid defined benefit / contribution plan for new teachers with a risk sharing provision (SEC. 117);

 

  • Commencing with the 2027 expiration of the 2017 SEBAC agreement, elimination of collective bargaining over pension and healthcare benefits, and elimination of overtime pay in making fringe benefit calculations and curtailment of cost of living adjustments for certain state employees retiring thereafter unless approved by the legislature.  This proposal reflects the Commission’s recommendation to move the responsibility for determining benefits to the legislature, as is the practice in most other states (SEC. 104 – 108, 112);

 

  • Issuance by Office of Legislative Research of a request for proposals to hire an independent consultant to analyze the 2017 SEBAC Agreement with a focus on competitiveness and equity of state employee compensation and benefit programs including recommendations for policy revisions and legislation for their implementation (SEC. 113);

 

  • Changes to binding arbitration at the municipal level, including establishing an irrebuttable presumption that 15% of a municipality's budget reserve is not available to pay costs associated with arbitration, and implementation of coalition bargaining for municipal employees affected by service sharing agreements among towns (SEC. 114 – 116);

 

Patricelli and Smith said: “The launching of these various follow-on studies will position the General Assembly to take up our proposals in FY 2019.  Comprehensive action on the Commission’s full recommendations after the election is needed if Connecticut is to regain its fiscal stability and re-ignite economic growth.”