2017 State Budget Update

Nov. 1, 2017 -- In late October, the State Senate passed the two-year $41.3 billion budget by a vote of 33-3, while the House of Representatives passed it 126-23.  Both margins were veto-proof.  Governor Malloy signed the budget with the exception of the hospital tax piece that legislators and the governor are amending.

This compromise budget contains no preserve taxation or revenue measures.  However, our union, in coalition with the AFL-CIO, stopped many of the most onerous anti-labor provisions contained in the punitive Republican budget that had passed with the help of conservative Democrats in both chambers.

What We Achieved:

  • Protected the right to collective bargaining for state and municipal employees.
  • Protected the right of state employees to bargain over health care and pensions past the expiration of the 2027 SEBAC (State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition) Agreement.
  • Defeated the provision to make all state employees contribute 7% towards pension after 2027.
  • Defeated the prohibition of applying OT to pension calculations after 2027.
  • Defeated the removal of COLAs (Cost of Living Adjustments) after 2027.
  • Protected the long-term stability of the state employee retirement fund
  • Protected municipal employees by stopping efforts to impose a mandatory one-year timeline for contract negotiations, similar to the teachers bargaining laws.

Key Budget Provisions Impacting Our Members;

  • Imposes four-year limit on SEBAC agreements.
  • Contains “impairment of contract’ language for state employee agreements.  It appears that the provisions have no legal effect, according to the bill analysis.
  • Establishes a pension commission to study the feasibility of placing state capital assets in trust
  • Subjects state pension funding to “stress testing” as recommended by Pew.
  • Requires State Comptroller to annually certify SEBAC savings and show any shortfall.  The Governor than must find other ways to save that money.
  • Establishes Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB) process allowing the state to establish financial oversight of financially distressed municipalities.
  • Modifies the 30 day rule to require an affirmative vote of state employee contracts but leaves open the possibility that a contract can die by being talked to death or by never being called.
  • Restricts the General Assembly to only 1 reversal per arbitrated agreement.
  • Directs Retirement Commission (in direct breach of SEBAC Agreement) to recognize all the 2027 benefit changes by reducing contributions from the General Assembly to the fund (regardless of whether those changes are legal or are the subject of litigation).
  • Contains numerous sections forbidding the General Assembly from changing the new statutory provisions except by 2/3rds vote – a clear constitutional violation.
  • Rolls back a 3% increase in salaries for judges, family support magistrates, per diem rates for family support referees and judge trial referees and others whose compensation is determined by a judge’s salary.

Read a full CT AFL-CIO summary of the bipartisan budget here.