Council 4 Legislative Update
Local 1186 President Sue Egan testifies against a bill that would substitute 401(k)s for real municipal pension plans.
The 2015 legislative session is well underway (and concludes June 3).
In his Feb. 18 budget address, Gov. Malloy reemphasized there will be no state employee layoffs (thanks to the 2011 job security and cost savings agreement negotiated by state employee unions), furloughs or early retirement incentives. He projected a reduction of the state workforce by 1-2% through attrition.
Malloy’s two-year, $40 billion budget proposes to close a projected $2.5 billion deficit through a variety of measures including increased taxes on large corporations but also painful cuts to higher education and social services (such as closing the Torrington Department of Social Services office and a state prison (both of which our union opposes).
Our challenge is to make sure the final budget document is a fair one that invests in our economy, eliminates unfair tax breaks and asks more of those (both individuals and businesses) with the greatest ability to pay.
Here’s a snapshot of other key issues:
- Health Care Pooling: One of Council 4’s major initiatives is legislation allowing municipalities to purchase health insurance at cost (known as “true pooling”) through the Connecticut Partnership Plan. The Labor Committee held a hearing on this concept Feb. 26.
- Workers’ Rights: Council 4 is championing legislation (HB 5860) that would recognize the more than 300 employees of the state probate court system as state employees for the purpose of collective bargaining. (They are currently excluded by statute.)
- State Employee Pensions: Thanks to the vigilance of Council 4 and other state employee unions, Malloy’s proposed biennial budget maintains his administration’s commitment to paying down the unfunded pension liability created by his predecessors.
- Retirement Security: The Labor Committee has drafted legislation to fund the Connecticut Retirement Security Board (which was created last year) so it can fulfill its mission of developing a public retirement plan to address the state’s growing retirement crisis.
- Municipal Aid: The proposed budget largely spares cities and towns the deep cuts that were feared. Malloy said he’s committed to preserving municipal aid, holding down property taxes and preventing local layoffs.
Be sure to go to our website at www.council4.org and sign up for our legislative updates.
And please join us May 20 for our annual Council 4 Legislative Lobby Day, starting at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol in Hartford. You can download a flyer under Additional Resources.