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Monday, April 4, 2011

Exclusive: Malloy's Contingency Plans Call For Cutting An Additional 10 Percent From Agency Budgets In Next Two Years; Preparations If Ongoing Union Talks Fall Apart - Capitol Watch

Exclusive: Malloy's Contingency Plans Call For Cutting An Additional 10 Percent From Agency Budgets In Next Two Years; Preparations If Ongoing Union Talks Fall Apart - Capitol Watch


As talks with state employee unions have not reached a final deal, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is asking all agency heads to cut their budgets by an additional 10 percent in each of the next two years.

Malloy is moving ahead with an alternative budget in case the ongoing talks with the unions fall apart. He is seeking $1 billion in savings and concessions in each of the next two years from the unions, and the two sides are trying to reach a deal in the coming weeks.

Malloy is not yet ordering layoffs, which he has threatened to do if the talks collapse. Instead, supervisors are being told that they can save money through attrition.

Benjamin Barnes, Malloy's budget chief, essentially announced the move by sending a memo Monday morning to all agency heads to advise them of the contingency plans.

The memo, obtained by The Hartford Courant's Capitol Watch, says, "All types of reduction options should be considered including program eliminations, facility closures, and savings due to staff reductions such as attrition anticipated by June 30, 2011 that may not have been included in the recommended appropriations for the biennium.''

Since the administration is moving quickly to craft the alternative budget, the reductions from each agency are due at the end of the day on April 13. Malloy is ordering the alternatives for the executive branch, along with asking for similar cuts in the judicial and legislative branches.

The 10 percent cuts by the commissioners would amount to about $150 million per year. That includes only the money that could be saved under the authority of the commissioners and does not include any savings from layoffs and further cuts that could be authorized by the governor.

When asked about the plans, Roy Occhiogrosso, a senior adviser to Malloy, said, "The governor has been very clear that he's been preparing an alternative budget. This is just one piece of that.''

The legislature's budget-writing committee must make their recommendations on the overall budget by April 26, and Malloy is hoping for an overall budget deal by early May. That, however, is a self-imposed deadline, and the current fiscal year does not end until June 30.


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