Negotiations on Budget Fail Overnight

M Jodi Rell
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The state is in a difficult budget predicament and it got worse overnight.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has released her $750 million deficit plan on Wednesday afternoon, one that included no tax hike but late night negotiations with state employee unions failed on Wednesday. Gov. M. Jodi Rell's administration offered workers an early retirement incentive program that would have saved the state $65 million.

The unions rejected the offer, delivering a blow to Rell's 2011 budget plans.

Eight thousand state workers were eligible for the early retirement program but, union leaders say the governor's administration failed to show how the plan would affect public services and the state's pension plan.

Union officials said Rell representatives “stormed” out of the meeting before negotiations were complete.

Minutes later, the union went public with their side.

Rell issued a statement.

“The Governor is extremely disappointed that SEBAC … rejected any consideration of an early retirement plan. … She is also disappointed that SEBAC would not allow the administration to put alternative cost-saving measures on the table,” her office said in a release. “Governor Rell believes it is a time for renewed respect and cooperation, not intractability and hyperbole.”

What happens from here is unclear this morning, but some lawmakers say they don't need the union's approval to go ahead with the program.

Rell has said she would like union members to agree.

Rell’s proposal set out a plan for a quasi-public agency to run Bradley Airport.
Her office said Wednesday that the state was getting $300 million more in revenue than expected.

Rell’s budget also proposes reducing the tax that Connecticut Light & Power customers would begin to see.

Her budget chief, Robert Genuario, says the average CL&P bill would drop from $7.45 to $2.37 and United Illuminating would drop from $10.66 to $2.99.

The Democrats have not commented and are not expected to until after reviewing her proposal.

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