STATE EMPLOYEE UNIONS ON NOTICE: MALLOY SAYS CURRENT PAY AND BENEFITS LEVELS ARE ‘UNSUSTAINABLE’

Gov. Dannel Malloy tipped his budget-solving hand a bit further Wednesday when he told reporters that state employee unions would have to be a substantial part of solving the state budget deficit now pegged at nearly $4 billion.

“For Connecticut to move beyond its current economic crisis, its budgetary crisis, we’re going to need to make headway with our employees on returning to a sustainable system of compensation and benefit allocation,” Malloy said. That noise you are now hearing is the collective gasp from the 45,000 unionized state employees.

If nothing else, the comments seem to contradict the criticism leveled at Malloy by Republicans, particularly during the campaign—that Malloy would be a pawn to the unions because they supported him in the primary and were self-styled “king makers” in the general election in which Malloy eked out a win over Republican Tom Foley.

Last week, Malloy hinted that many of material and services now exempt from the state sales tax would lose that status, potentially bringing in to state coffers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Previously, Malloy said he would not increase spending from this year’s current services budget which means he plans to come up with $1.88 billion in cuts.

Malloy’s state budget address to the General Assembly is Feb. 16.