The Connecticut AFL-CIO, Connecticut Education Association, AFSCME Council 4, and AFT Connecticut made the following statements in response to the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth’s 2.0 recommendations:
Salvatore Luciano, Executive Vice President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO:
“Christmas appears to have come early for the richest 1% in Connecticut. At least, that’s what the ‘Yacht Club Commission’ was hoping for when they released their latest plan that will almost exclusively benefit corporate CEOs and wealthy corporations.
“The newest version of their plan lowers corporate taxes and income taxes for the state’s millionaires, but keeps the income tax rate the same for middle and lower income workers. And at the same time, they want to freeze wages and reduce benefits for our state’s teachers, fire fighters, correction officers, and other vital public service workers.
“We have seen this playbook before and do not need to make the same mistakes. In 2012, Kansas implemented many of the tax cutting ideas central to this commission’s recommendations. The result? Exploding deficits, a weaker economy, and sharp cuts to education and infrastructure. Connecticut can do better.”
Donald Williams, Executive Director of the Connecticut Education Association:
“The new 2.0 report issued by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth puts coal in the stockings of the state’s middle class and gives diamonds and furs to the state’s wealthiest residents. The 2.0 report has the same overall framework of the group’s initial plan—a plan that is skewed against the state’s middle- and lower-income families and lacks the bold reforms needed to grow our economy and move Connecticut forward.”
Jody Barr, Executive Director of Council 4 AFSCME (which represents nearly 15,000 state employees):
“FIST Commission leaders continue to bark up the wrong tree. Unionized state employees provided $1.59 billion in biennial savings and more than $24 billion over the next two decades when they voted in favor of the 2017 SEBAC agreement. These employees are giving up an average of $17,500 per worker over the next two years to help close the deficit and protect vital services. It’s not collective bargaining that needs reform. It’s our antiquated tax structure that benefits the ultra-wealthy and big corporations at the expense of working people. We urge the incoming Lamont administration and the General Assembly to chart a bold new path for Connecticut built on a fair revenue and spending structure that will boost public investment, reduce income inequality and grow the middle class.”
Jan Hochadel, President of AFT Connecticut:
“The big business elites heading up this commission apparently missed one of the biggest takeaways from November 6; Connecticut voters aren’t buying the myth of trickle-down economics. How else to explain a report pushing the kind of Trumpian austerity approach that lawmakers in Kansas and many other struggling states now openly admit doesn’t work?
“Worse, the commission’s chairs are squandering the opportunity created by new leadership in Hartford to work together to solve problems and instead chose divineness and finger-pointing.
“Our union members want the kind of unity and collaboration that Governor-elect Lamont pledged on the campaign trail. They’re looking forward to their suggestions for how best to lead Connecticut being part of the policy-making process going forward.”