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Letter to Editor: Connecticut State Budget Debate Denied

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To the Editor,

Monday we were called to the Capitol to vote. Yet again, we were prevented from debating and voting on a budget. In fact, the majority party voted to prevent the minority party’s budget from even being presented. This lack of leadership is dangerous for the state and our citizens.

Instead, the House voted on what is commonly known as the SEBAC agreement. Without having a two year budget in place, this labor agreement provides a four year guarantee of no layoffs for state employees. This is unconscionable in light of the state of Connecticut’s poor financial affairs. The proponent of the bill admitted during the debate that now “our hands are tied” in regards to wage, hour and layoff discussions.

Under the agreement, if a department becomes more efficient and we no longer need administrators, their roles are protected. If a program no longer meets the needs for which is it was intended, staff maintain their roles. If we close a facility to reduce costs, employees remain. This is wrong, on so many levels and clearly does not conform to the employment practices of the private sector.

The state must be nimble, creative and have the potential to evolve. But, the no layoff provision prohibits Connecticut from serving the very people it has a responsibility to serve. Resources that should be allocated to preserve the safety net will not be readily available. This means our most vulnerable citizens, our elderly, our children, and those with disabilities may not get the services they need.

Our state employees help make Connecticut a great place to live and work, however this provision is detrimental to the state as a whole. For these reasons, I could not support the SEBAC agreement.

Sincerely,

Christie M. Carpino
State Representative, 32nd District