Yankee Institute Blog

New Haven labor unions take over Board of Alders in power struggle with Yale

In a concentrated campaign of spending and activism over the past several years, two powerful New Haven unions took control of the city’s Board of Alders. Now the Board’s activities, investigated by the New Haven Independent, are raising questions about whether some Alders are pursuing the unions’ interests over those of the city and its taxpayers.

Is Stamford the last big city standing?

Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford all face mounting debt, pension and OPEB liabilities, coupled with high taxes, high rates of poverty and declining services, according to a forth-coming study entitled Connecticut’s Broken Cities.

However, Stamford remains the one major Connecticut city that does not qualify as a “distressed municipality.”

Towns find new ways to save on retiree health costs

Faced with mounting retiree healthcare costs, Connecticut towns are making changes to get out of the healthcare business altogether.

Matt Gallagan, town manager of South Windsor, said they no longer provide health benefits for retirees. Instead retirees can purchase a health plan through the town. South Windsor is one of several towns and cities that have moved away from providing long-term health benefits for their retirees.

As state grapples with pension liabilities, some towns and cities make their own paths

As Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state legislature grapples with rising costs from unfunded pension liabilities, some Connecticut cities and towns have managed to tackle their own pension problems head on.

Municipalities like Danbury, Norwalk, Stratford and South Windsor have switched from defined benefit retirement plans to 401(k) style plans and changing retiree healthcare packages to stem the long-term costs to the towns.

State Retirement Commission blocks towns from real pension reform

Welcome to the Connecticut Municipal Employee Retirement System (CMERS), a state-run pension plan for local public employees that’s a little like the Hotel California: Once you’re in, good luck getting out.

This state restriction on towns in CMERS stands in the way of reforms that would make retirement benefits for municipal employees safer and more sustainable – and it should be repealed.

Legislator mileage reimbursements for 2015

Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and the Hartford Courant have recently called attention to legislators using mileage reimbursement to increase their compensation and pad their pensions.

There were 251 working days in 2015. Legislators who received mileage reimbursement claimed anywhere from 1 to 245 trips from their hometown to the capitol. Yankee Institute obtained the mileage and reimbursement figures for all state senator and representatives through a Freedom of Information request.

CHRO touts $10.2 million in settlements for 2016 as discrimination complaints rise

In its administrative report to the governor, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, which is tasked with investigating claims of discrimination in employment and housing, claimed that it had “the best production rate” of any similar agency by securing $10,250,000 in discrimination settlements from employers and property owners during FY16.

But some employers and property owners liken the CHRO’s practices to “extortion” and claim they are forced to settle with claimants to avoid a longer and more costly fight.

Yankee Institute 2017 Legislative Agenda

This year, Connecticut lawmakers have the opportunity to show that they are committed to bringing jobs and prosperity back to our state. That starts with saying “no” to another tax increase, and “yes” to dismantling the barriers that hobble job and economic growth.

During the 2017 legislative session, the Yankee Institute will be working with legislators, state officials and stakeholders in the following areas

State agencies make headway in reducing overtime payments

As Gov. Dannel Malloy delivered his state of the state address, which highlighted Connecticut’s growing deficit problem, the Office of Fiscal Analysis released it second-quarter report on state agency overtime spending.

So far, Connecticut agencies – particularly the Department of Correction – have spent 14.7 percent less on overtime payments than the second quarter of last year. The DOC is consistently the biggest driver of overtime but managed to reduce their payments by $8.2 million.

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