Layoff notices have begun going out to Connecticut state employees, Gov. Dannel Malloy said Friday.
During a news conference after the state bond commission meeting, Malloy said the layoff notices have begun to go out, but did not specify which departments are affected or how many have been sent out.
The governor previously said layoff notices could go to as many as 1,100 state employees. Even though notices are distributed, some employees have "bumping rights," allowing them a limited ability to move into another position.
On the same day the state authorized $350 million in new borrowing, the Fitch ratings agency downgraded the state’s credit to A- from A.
The news comes as a blow to the state’s already struggling economy.
A spokesman for the governor wrote in a statement, “The action by Fitch is disappointing, and should be taken extremely seriously as we chart a course on our next biennial budget.”
Republican Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Len Fasano wrote, “Lawmakers need to recognize that their policies have consequences and have created an environment that is now in desperate need of significant change. What is clear is that any biennial state budget for Connecticut cannot resemble the fiscal policies of years past.”
The projects approved by Malloy and the bond commission ranged from improvements for the Waterbury Branch Line of Metro North to a package of economic incentives for a pharmaceutical company that announced it would create hundreds of jobs.
The governor had said previously back in March that he would not hold future meetings to approve new borrowing until progress was made on budget talks. Even though there has been no tangible progress on the next two-year state budget, the governor changed his mind, saying he felt an obligation to approve some projects.
“I thought that needed to have this meeting,” Malloy said. He later added, “I have curtailed spending where I thought it was appropriate and then moving forward. I mean should we allow people’s houses to flood?”
To that end, Malloy challenged legislative leaders to start making decisions they never thought they would have to when it comes to cutting spending and changing the way state government operates in Connecticut.
“Leaders of the legislature don’t want to do the hard things and this is all about doing hard things,” Malloy said following a meeting of the State’s Bond Commission. “That’s what government is.”
The first layoff notices were also sent to state workers who will be the first casualties of the state’s fiscal crisis this year. The governor said they were sent out, but did not specify how many or which departments may be impacted.
He said future layoffs can be avoided if organized labor reaches a deal with the state on at least $700 million in givebacks each year for the next two years.
“Discussions have been respectful and I hope they lead to an agreement that can help move the state forward.”
If a deal is not struck in the coming weeks, the fiscal year ends June 30, then the governor said he can’t rule even more drastic reductions.
“We need to have an agreement relatively soon or else we have to find those other ways.”
Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com