The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition just posted on its website a summary of today’s budget talks with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration.
The Governor and General Assembly face a nearly $1 billion shortfall this fiscal year and must craft a new two-year spending plan in the face of a potential, $8 billion budget deficit in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Rell delivers her budget address Feb. 4.
According to SEBAC “the administration suggested a retirement incentive program unconnected to protecting public services, job security or any long-term agreement between the parties … The Governor delivers her budget address on Feb. 4 and it is clear that her administration labors under the illusion that public services can be responsblity reduced by layoffs or agency consolidations.”
The union goes on to state demand for public services will be up during the recession and the administration needs to support “a long-term positive solution which provides the revenue needed to support the services people need to rebuild our state.”
More revenue translates into a bid for higher taxes – something House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden, suggested earlier in the day during a radio interview on WNPR.
“The wealthy as well as the average person needs to kick in,” Donovan responded to one caller’s question about potential tax increases. Donovan has long been a fan of a so-called millionaires tax and is a strong supporter of organized labor.
Rell during her Jan. 7 state-of-the-state address made it clear she was pursuing deep cuts and working to drastically decrease the size of state government.
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said the governor reiterated that message today during a conference call with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders.
“There’s going to be cuts everywhere and they’re going to be deep,” Cafero said. “And she is basically asking us before any of us come out of the box and condemn what she did … to do it in the spirit of solving a problem and not to gain political points.”
Another indication of Rell’s potential budget plans is an invitation Cafero said she is extending to legislators to meet Monday with notable author David Osborne, whose 1993 book “Reinventing Government” remains a blue print for reformers.
“There are still many representatives – both sides of the aisle – that just don’t get it yet. The magnitude of what we’re facing is so mind-boggling it is beyond the comprehension of some of these lawmakers,” Cafero said. “She’s trying at the very least for everyone to recognzie the severity and depth of the problem … We’re talking the wholesale change of government and here’s a gentleman who’s a nationally renowned expert in such things.”