About $135 million in state budget reductions were announced Tuesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy part of $700 million in labor-management savings that will help balance Connecticut's two-year $40.1 billion budget.
After the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition failed to ratify labor concessions proposed in June, a $1.6 billion labor agreement was ratified in August that avoided the vast majority of cuts proposed in a so-called "Plan B" alternative budget plan. But officials said some of the savings revealed Tuesday were based on proposals discussed during the alternate budget process.
"This is another example of the governor's commitment to making government smaller and more efficient," said Ben Barnes, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. "We've said all along that there were a number of cuts proposed in the so-called 'Plan B' budget that made a lot of sense and didn't harm necessary services. These cuts will go forward as we work to meet the goals identified in our budget plan."
Savings include closing Bergin Correctional Institution in Mansfield, which will save $5.8 million; reducing security in state buildings; laying off state troopers and corrections supervisors; and increasing retirements and vacancies.
The Connecticut State Police Union was one of two bargaining units that failed to ratify the two-year wage freeze, which was part of the $1.6 billion concession package. Layoffs of 56 state troopers will save an estimated $2.2 million; elimination of 21 Department of Correction supervisors will save $8.6 million.
The $700 million goal in labor-management reductions includes savings in state employees' wages, health care and pensions, as well as reductions through attrition and retirements.
"These are not rescissions and not changes to line-items," Barnes said. "They are budgeted amounts OPM will hold back from the agencies. If, as the year progresses, the state's fiscal picture deteriorates, the governor retains the rescission authority granted him by statute." The governor can rescind up to 5 percent of spending in most of state government as well as 3 percent of any fund, except aid to municipalities and other statutory exclusions.
"We will meet our budget goals," Barnes said. "And we won't push budget problems into the future. These cuts are another step toward that goal."
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