HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today said the proposed concession agreement between Gov. Malloy and state employee union leaders does not go far enough to rein in state spending and added the House and Senate should go on record as either in support or against the plan through a vote in each chamber.
“Committing taxpayers, future governors and the next five legislatures to paying for fringe benefits that are unseen anywhere else but in state government – and a pension system that is collapsing around us as we speak – is unfathomable, ’’ Klarides said. “After months of negotiations, this proposed deal falls short of where we need to be.’’ The deal is based on extending the expiration date of 2022 on the current pension and healthcare programs for five more years.
The savings do not justify extending the unaffordable pension and healthcare benefits five years to 2027 without substantial changes in how Connecticut pays for them, she said. Republicans were briefed by Gov. Malloy’s office on the details of the plan on Monday afternoon.
Republicans have repeatedly pushed to require legislative approval of all union contracts but have been rebuffed by Democrats who rely on union support. Another five-year extension will likely make it impossible to make significant changes in the state workforce without the unions agreeing to do so. Klarides said that the negotiations did achieve some savings through less generous benefits.
Klarides and other Republicans have proposed numerous sweeping changes that would amount to hundreds in millions more in savings that are not part of the proposal, including:
- A steady, significant reduction in the state’s workforce through attrition and the elimination of positons as they become vacant;
- A pure defined contribution plan for new all new hires;
- Privatization to achieve greater efficiencies and savings;
- Agency consolidations;
- Deductibles in state employee healthcare plans.
Klarides noted that Gov. Malloy has been highly critical of past Republicans for committing the state to overly generous benefits or extending the costly retirement and healthcare deals beyond what the state could reasonably afford. Gov. Malloy agreed in 2011 to a five-year extension to 2022.
“Now, if this deal goes through as structured, Gov. Malloy will have extended the fringe benefit plans out for a decade beyond the original expiration date and beyond what we can afford,’’ she said.