Malloy: Up to 2,000 state employee layoffs coming as early as next week
Malloy says that he expects about 1,000 to 2,000 layoffs of state employees, and that number could be solidified as early as next week.
The layoffs are part of a budget negotiation for the fiscal year 2017 budget, which begins July 1. There is currently a projected $900 million deficit, and many cuts are coming.
"It's hard adjusting to this new economic reality. I think it requires hard decisions to be made. it requires that we change our behaviors," Malloy said.
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According to officials from the Legislative Committee, which is working on finalizing the budget, the number of layoffs could potentially be as high as 4,000, though the governor stuck to the 1,000 to 2,000 figure.
On Friday, the Department of Corrections actually announced that it would be laying off 147 employees, though no notices have been sent to specific employees yet. The AFCME Local presidents for the unions that represent the DOC employees released a statement following the news:
We appreciate the efforts of Commissioner [Scott] Semple to minimize the destructive impact of layoffs and budget cuts within the DOC. Laying off front-line corrections employees will seriously compromise the safety and security of DOC staff and the communities we protect. We urge the governor and legislators to make better and smarter choices.
Gov. Malloy announced more than $65 million in immediate budget cuts through an executive order in March. Those cuts do not need to be voted on, unlike the legislative budget cuts, because they were an executive order. He also requested $13 million in cuts from the Legislative and Judicial branches, but he needed approval for those cuts.
On Thursday, the Democrats in the state Legislature passed a budget that included $569 million in cuts, though Gov. Malloy said that the proposal was "incomplete" and a revised budget would be unveiled next week covering the entire $900 million deficit. It still needs to be voted on by the entire Legislature, and is bound to have changes as several versions of the budget bill are reconciled.
Here is a breakdown of some parts of the Democrat's passed budget bill:
— Cuts funding for state employee overtime and possibly salary adjustments while imposing hiring freezes throughout state government. Committee leaders said they did not include a specific number of layoffs as part of any labor savings, saying it's up to the administration to decide whether job cuts will be necessary.
— Expands Department of Motor Vehicles' partnership with AAA and other automobile clubs so they can provide more services, including renewing all licenses and conducting vehicle registration services.
— Eliminates metal detectors at the state Capitol complex. Plan would reduce funding by $325,243 to eliminate six positions, including three police officers, two security technicians and an officer technician.
— Includes governor's plan to privatize 10 Department of Developmental Disabilities group homes and a proposal to privatize an additional 20 by fiscal year 2017.
— Reduces Department of Transportation funding by $15.8 million, or about 6 percent.
— Eliminates funding for the independent Commission on Aging. State funding remains, albeit reduced, for other commissions including the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.
— Re-establishes state watchdog agencies, such as the Elections Enforcement Commission, as independent state agencies. They were recently consolidated under the Office of Governmental Accountability.
— Maintains $1.6 million in funding for elderly renters tax relief program.
— Includes $50,738 to fund the state bee inspector at the Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven.
— Maintains funding for the Office of State Broad Band within the Office of Consumer Counsel.
— Requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to take over care and control of the Old State House in downtown Hartford and treat it like an historic state park. It's currently overseen by the Office of Legislative Management.
— Reduces statewide tourism marketing campaign by $500,000.
— Maintains funding for mental health and substance abuse grants provided to nonprofit social service providers.
— Reduces cash assistance programs for the needy by 1 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.