State Employee Layoffs Looming Following Budget Deal

The budget problems in Connecticut remain despite a deal reached yesterday to end the current fiscal year in balance and the governor and top lawmakers conceded on Wednesday that layoff notices to potentially thousands of state employees will go out in the next two weeks.

The state faces a current estimated shortfall between $550 million and $900 million and Gov. Dannel Malloy told reporters following a closed door meeting with top lawmakers that the layoffs will be "substantial."

Sen. Martin Looney, (D - New Haven), the President Pro Tem of the Senate, said on broad terms, they expect to save "hundreds of millions" as a result of layoffs.

The deficit mitigation plan approved by the House and Senate yesterday, and signed by the governor today, closed a $220 million shortfall projected to end the 2016 fiscal year. The plan included about $100 million in across-the-board spending cuts from dozens of programs, big and small, with minimal changes to social and disability services. Democrats and Republicans remarked that they wanted to protect the most vulnerable in the state.

The issues with the 2017 fiscal year budget are far more serious.

"It's four times as difficult to balance," Rep. Brendan Sharkey, (D-Hamden), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said.

The Appropriations Committee is about two weeks away from a formal plan being sent to the House or Senate for consideration. The committee has been working to fill the hole described by the governor last month of $500 million.

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