Malloy and the Unions - NBC Connecticut

Malloy and the Unions

Governor wants contract concessions from the union, they want wealthy taxed.

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    Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy stands outside his office after holding his first news conference as governor at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

    Hundreds of union leaders gave Gov. Dannel Malloy standing ovations, but there's no sign they'll give him what he really wants:  $2 billion.

    The money would come in concessions from the state workers' unions' contract with the state government, a contract they don't have to open because it doesn't expire til 2017.

    "But I am asking the people of Connecticut to pay $1.5 billion more in revenue," Malloy told them, explaining why he also wants the state workers to part with what amounts to $40,000 each over the next two years.

    He repeated his threat to layoff state workers if he doesn't get the concessions, and warned the consequences of failure would be dire.

    "If we don't succeed I probably won't be re-elected," said Malloy. "If I'm not re-elected, you're not gonna have somebody who does the kinds of things I do, who actually believes in government, and believes in unions at the same time."

    Malloy acknowledged that support from the unions helped him win election last year, but he said it also made the election as close as it was, "just 7,000 votes if you count the Bridgeport votes."

    The governor invited the leaders to ask him questions and the first to do so was the head of the state's AFL-CIO, former state Democratic Party chairman, John Olsen.

    "There are people that have made a lot of money.  We have waited twenty years to start to get someone to hold them accountable.  We believe that's you," said Olsen.

    Malloy told Olsen and others who complained his budget goes too easy on multimillionaires that in the last budget crisis taxes went up by $1 billion on the wealthy.  Furthermore, he said once employees are able to sell their houses and be transferred, employers will have a whole country of tax rates to choose from, and move their businesses.

    So he wants to keep Connecticut's tax rates competitive with nearby states, because he knows energy costs are higher here.

    Monday, Malloy said, Connecticut's latest unemployment rate will be revealed to be 9 percent, higher than the new national unemployment rate of 8.9 percent, "lagging the national recovery for the first time," the governor said.