Report by Paula Antolini
March 10, 2017 5:55AM EDT
OPINION / LETTER TO THE EDITOR
‘What They’re Negotiating in Hartford’ – Letter to the Editor from Larry Craybas
Are legislators talking about solving the state employee and teacher pension liability problem that will affect Connecticut’s financial state through 2030 and beyond? The current $4-6 Billion unfunded liability, is a big number today, but wait until taxpayers are asked to help pay for a $30-35 Billion problem over the 13 years ahead.
The egregious failure to get serious about finding a permanent solution to this unfunded liability confronting Connecticut is incredulous, and just know taxpayers will once again be asked to bail-out Hartford.
What is being discussed in budget meetings you ask? Issues that seek more revenue from “sin taxes.” The list includes legalizing recreational use of marijuana; more Casinos for more gaming dollars; OTB; liquor store hours and lower minimum pricing; expanding options for lottery players for more of their money … and forget the “tobacco use cessation fund;” everyone seems to have a key to that lock box.
A real solution to begin resolving the pension liability debacle would be for the CEO of the State, Governor Malloy, to issue an Executive Order bringing state employee and teacher unions to the table to rework their pensions, starting with new employees changing their plan to Defined Contributions, and requiring larger contributions from all employees. While he has their attention, insist that state employees contribute more for their healthcare, a step taken with Municipal teacher unions and the private sector for years. The Governor can issue Executive Orders. He issued one on February 23, 2017 to strengthen protection of transgender students.
Is there political will and intestinal fortitude to do this? Probably not. It’s easier chasing “Sin Tax” revenue and requiring Municipalities to absorb a third of the State’s teacher unfunded pension cost than permanently solving such a complicated problem!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Bethel Advocate.