Posted on April 23, 2019 by admin
Citing the still-struggling state economy and projected multi-billion dollar state budget deficit, State Representative Stephanie Cummings (R-74) today voted against another employee contract that awards substantial salary and benefit increases to a small group of already well-paid union state employees.
The current contract – the fifth such contract for union workers this session – provides a 13% salary increase over the next two years and an additional $2,000 lump sum payout for Deputy Wardens in the Department of Corrections. The contract also stipulates that those union members who currently receive longevity payments – bonuses paid for long-serving state employees – will continue to receive them. With passage of this legislation, their average salaries will increase from $99,602 to $115,256 annually.
The five contracts passed this session cover public defenders, Judicial branch employees, Assistant Attorney’s General and department heads, Department of Revenue Services tax attorneys and now, Deputy Wardens in the Department of Corrections. Many of these employees currently earn more than $100,000 annually. The contracts represent a $7.1 million annual hit to the state budget.
“I have consistently voted against awarding massive pay raises to groups of state employees while the state budget is in deficit and state spending remains out of control,” Rep. Cummings said. “The dedicated women and men working hard to keep our state running do a great job, especially those in the Department of Corrections, but I question the timing of awarding such lavish contract extensions and raises when families across Waterbury, and the state, continue to struggle to pay their own bills. In light of Governor Lamont’s proposed tax increases on everything from haircuts to youth sports it’s incredible that these contracts are being approved.”
Massive spending increases like these stand in stark contrast to Governor Lamont’s assurances that he’s putting the state on a “debt diet” and will chart a new “path forward” to running the state. His proposed budget includes a wide range of middle class tax and fee increases on bike helmets, text books, youth sports, garbage collection and more, as well as eliminating the annual “sales tax free week” when many parents by school clothes for their kids. His tax increase proposal will cost Connecticut residents about $6.8 million annually, in addition to the spending on these contracts.
“Instead of holding the line on state spending and working to reduce expenses and consolidate services to save money, a small group of already highly paid workers is being handed even more lavish benefits,” Rep. Cummings said. “Extravagant spending like this is a slap in the face to the hardworking people who continue to struggle under continually increasing taxes and fees. Temporarily withholding these raises would free up more than enough money to eliminate the governor’s proposed middle class tax increases and spare Connecticut families another unnecessary hit to their wallets.”