by Charles A. Monagan
Jun 29, 2011
02:01 PMOn Connecticut
Hey GOP, Dems: Shut Up and Get to Work!
It may be 20 or 30 years late, but it looks like it's finally hammer time in the state budget/employee union talks.
Gov. Malloy wants to start making changes in the state-employee benefit packages, beginning with alterations to sick days, seniority raises, the practice of using overtime to fatten pension payouts and a few other items.
The Democratic "leaders" in the Capitol seem content to let the governor do all the heavy lifting in this area. This is typical. They had an opportunity to come up with creative, hard-nosed ideas and they passed on it.
The Republicans, also typically, are doing a lot of sniping and not much leading. It's time for them to sit down with the governor if for no other reason than to emphasize the urgency of this situation. The people of Connecticut aren't looking for partisan b.s. here, especially when it was a couple of GOP governors (Rowland and Rell) who were instrumental in creating the problem. (Rowland's crazy 20-year benefits deal with the unions assures that even if Malloy and the legislature reach agreement on cutbacks, they can't go into effect until 2017. And as he chirps away from his radio pulpit, he just sounds small and increasingly irrelevant.)
This is the hour for real leaders to emerge, and for them to put the fiscal future of Connecticut and its people squarely in focus. Who will these leaders turn out to be? We are about to find out.
And by the way, as long as they're trying to come up with ways to derail the state-employee freight train, how about getting rid of two holidays that almost no one in the private sector gets - Good Friday and Lincoln's Birthday? On a vastly larger scale, I also wish they'd talk about capping state employee pensions at $50,000 a year or so. Oh, there's so much to do, so little time. We deserve a real effort this time.Hey GOP, Dems: Shut Up and Get to Work!