On December 8th, the legislature had a special session to cut $350 million in spending to balance the budget that included cuts to various state agencies. While this is not the ideal solution and we are waiting to determine what impact that will have on members – this special session could have turned out much worse for us. Due to the efforts and hard work of members to ensure that we have legislators who support workers – the Democratic majority blocked a series of destructive amendments targeting state workers.
Republicans tipped their hand for what we can expect in the upcoming 2016 legislative session by proposing an amendment to end collective bargaining on healthcare and pensions. In addition, the Republicans proposed increasing pensions contributions to 4% and taking overtime out of pension calculations. Republicans also proposed to increase health premiums that state employees pay by 10% – 15%. In total, these increases would mean that you pay and additional $7.66 per day more than you currently due. A conservative estimate is that this would take around $3,000 from your yearly salary. This is just the immediate cost but these changes would continue to increase without collective bargaining and continue to take more money out of your paycheck.
Other proposals include:
- Cap COLAs with a minimum of 0% and maximum of 3%;
- Move part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers out of the pension plan to a defined contribution plan;
- Suspend longevity payments after April 2016
- Move all new state employees to a defined contribution plan
- Increase dental cleanings by 10% and increase prescription drug co-pays to $10, $30, and $40;
- Take away any merit increases, step increases, or annual increments in FY 2017 and instead only have a cost of living adjustment.
These proposals are outrageous and continue the constant attack by Republicans to take away your rights, your benefits, your money, and your livelihood in order to put more money in the pockets of corporate billionaires. We’ve seen the Republican plan for Connecticut and our future and it’s taking everything we’ve fought for away from us while cutting taxes on millionaires and extremely profitable corporations. This isn’t just bad policy that would reduce our ability to have a good quality of life or a secure retirement. This is what we know is coming for us in the 2016 legislative session. But we can fight back and make sure that we can continue to have a good quality of life and a secure retirement.
We are in the political fight of our lives. If we allow Republicans, along with the Koch Brothers and Yankee Institute, to become the majority party in Connecticut or in the U.S. Congress, our rights, our benefits, and our ability to sustain our families will be eliminated.
To join the fight contact Political Director Jim Vigue at (860) 343 – 8736 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.