Malloy: Deal struck down could complicate shift in municipal aid

Malloy: Deal struck down could complicate shift in municipal aid

Record-Journal


HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy expressed concern Friday that a key municipal union’s decision to strike down a labor agreement with the city of Hartford may make it difficult to build support for his proposed shift in municipal aid.

Malloy has been pushing to direct more funding to some of the state’s neediest cities, particularly Hartford, without increasing overall funding. His budget proposal also seeks increased accountability from municipalities that receive the increased funding, something Republicans have sought for years.

Hartford, which faces the prospect of bankruptcy, had reached a proposed agreement with AFSCME Council 4 Local 1716, which represents 400 workers. The six-year agreement would have resulted in four years without pay increases for members, and would have included higher deductibles in health insurance plans.

The union, one of the largest in the city, struck it down Thursday.

“Local 1716 members have spoken and rejected the tentative agreement with the city,” union President Kenneth Blue said. “It was simply too much pain without job security.”

The decision now forces union and city officials to find alternatives, but Malloy said it could also jeopardize his efforts to shift aid to needy cities. He has repeatedly said the shift is needed to bolster the state’s urban areas, and has said specifically that a bankruptcy filing by Hartford could be detrimental to the state’s image.

“I’m nervous for Hartford because I don’t think that will allow people in this building to be supportive of Hartford,” he said Friday.

As for negotiations with state employees, Malloy said there was no “union break through.” He said he remains optimistic, but added an agreement on concessions needs to be finalized “relatively soon” so budget talks with legislative leaders can progress to other issues.

He reiterated Friday that it would be difficult to achieve more than the $1.55 billion in labor savings he has proposed over the next two years as part of efforts to close a $5.1 billion shortfall over the next two years.

Republicans suggested more in proposals they released early this week, but Malloy, who planned to provide a detailed response to them Friday, said they would need to propose where those saving would occur.

He provided little other insight Friday into his views of Democratic and Republican proposals, but described parts of the Democratic plan as being “speculative” earlier in the week. In particular, Malloy said pitches to legalize marijuana, expand gaming, and implement tolls would all fail to add any significant revenue over the upcoming biennium.

msavino@record-journal.com 203-317-2266 Twitter: @reporter_savino


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