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Rutigliano, Trumbull Lawmakers Slam ‘Sweetheart’ Labor Deal

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HARTFORD – State Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123), Laura Devlin (R-134) and Ben McGorty (R-122) all voted against a proposed State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) new union contract deal negotiated in secret with the governor’s office which they viewed as insufficient and inadequate considering Connecticut’s $5.1 Billion state budget deficit.

The Trumbull House Republican lawmakers claim the Democratic leadership forced a vote on the SEBAC secret plan without any independent analysis, and then refused GOP efforts to vote on the Republican budget. The deal was considered so favorable for the state unions that they pushed for its quick passage and were not upset that it was a so-called “concession” package.

Currently, State employee salaries and benefits make up 40 percent of the state’s budget. The deal included extending of the contract another five years to 2027, a guaranteed four years of protection from layoffs and the raises in the last two years of the agreement.

The legislative non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), which provides a fiscal analysis of all legislation in the General Assembly was not given enough time to provide a truly comprehensive evaluation of the concession plan, something that is routinely done on all previous contacts.

The equally divided State Senate (18-18) choose to wait for the OFA analysis and put off a vote on the labor deal while the Democratic Speaker of the House pushed for a vote before we could get the details of the deal.

“This is a sweet deal for labor union in Connecticut and a bad deal for the taxpayers of Trumbull and the rest of our state,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “I am disappointed the Democrats refused to allow a vote on our No Tax State Budget Plan, the residents are owed a vote, especially considering the majority party doesn’t have the votes for their budget tax hike. The Republican budget proposal would save hundreds of millions more than the deal negotiated by Governor Malloy and does not include the four-year no-layoff guarantee that this deal does. It also does not extend the overly generous pension and healthcare benefits package future retirees will receive.”

Rep. Devlin said, “The pension and healthcare concessions are not near parity with state union workers in surrounding states, let alone the private sector. The pension contributions double from 0-2% to 2-4% and health care deductibles for a “Cadillac plan” will continue to be zero. It is unconscionable that meal allowances and longevity pay, among other benefits, will still be permitted under this agreement while our state social service providers are being cut.”

“This agreement was rushed on us by Democratic leaders without a sufficient level of independent analysis of the costs and savings to taxpayers, while the state remains without a budget in place for nearly a full month now,” said Rep. McGorty.  “The House Republicans have had a balanced budget that preserves important services without tax hikes ready to go since April.  The agreement on union concessions is simply insufficient, and sets the stage for Democrats to push through another massive tax hike on state residents, and I deeply oppose that.”

Lawmakers reiterated that the state of Connecticut has been without a state budget for three weeks into the fiscal year but the unions have their wages, job protection and retirements guaranteed.