Solving Connecticut's Economic Crisis
Marsha Tulloch of AFSCME Local 269 speaks at the Better Choices for CT rally.
Get the latest news and action updates by clicking on the new SEBAC website, InThisTogetherCT.org
Our analysis of the current economic crisis is clear; it must be understood not as budget problem for the state, but as a jobs, services, and quality of life problem for Connecticut's people. Tough economic times are when the people of the state need public services the most.
Since last fall, State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) leaders have been meeting with members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation and representatives of the Administration of Governor M. Jodi Rell. Our goal has been to create a partnership of public service workers, elected officials at all levels, and the private sector to help working families weather the economic storm.
In late-January, SEBAC commissioned a public poll showing that broad majorities of Connecticut voters say that cutting vital services during a time of recession will further damage the economy. The week before the Governor's biennial budget speech, SEBAC launched a new website and a statewide television, cable, and radio ad campaign to deliver the poll's message; that we're all "In This Together, Connecticut."
Since then, legislative leaders have proposed a far more sensible budget that includes revenue enhancements for protecting the services we deliver to Connecticut families. At the same time, SEBAC Leadership has continued meeting with representatives of the Administration to reach a comprehensive agreement on how our members can be a part of preserving public services during these difficult times.
On April 6, SEBAC leaders announced discussions had produced a framework for an agreement on a comprehensive solution that provides savings without making the economy worse. They met again on April 15 to discuss the status of the framework, and made the summary of key provisions available to members of the coalition's unions while they schedule another round of large-group discussions.
On April 20, SEBAC leaders and the Rell administration announced a tentative agreement to provide more than $700 million in savings while protecting public services. Scroll down for the full agreement, which was overwhelmingly approved by state employees and then the General Assembly.
Even with our cost-savings agreement, Connecticut continues to face an almost $10 billion budget deficit. Cuts proposed by Governor Rell and many legislators will destroy our state's quality of life, hurt the most vulnerable among us, and damage our economy. When the Governor vetoed a budget passed by the legislature that asked those most able to pay to "step up," we responded with as round of tough TV ads across the state and organized efforts to distribute leaflets in her home district.