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SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy3gt6x wrote

I was impressed with Ned Lamont during the pandemic, he didn't give into a lot of the crazier Covid policy that our NY RI and MA neighbors invoked. That being said, any discussion that doesn't involve why our budget is so out of whack is a waste of time. Around 30% of the CT budget is pensions and paying for past work. It would be political suicide to cut spending and fix these problems so I expect any solution to be temporary.


SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy3reld wrote

Don't really know how these types of comments get down voted when they are the actual situation we are in. People just don't want to face the fact that we don't have the population in the greater Hartford area to support the budget and small tax increases on gas, food and even tolls are not going to change that. If you have an alternative suggestion, challenge what I am saying. Malloy invested in huge social expansion and a lot of it was good. We have the best public transit system in the country, our cops are not hated like in most states, our teachers are actually taken care of. Things could be pretty good here, but we need to be rational and address the issue that has been building since 2008.


bomgd3 t1_iy3ywgl wrote

I'm a state employee. The current pension is not very generous at all. In fact it's downright stingy. I think it's 0.13 x years of service after 10 years of service starting at age 65 and they take 5% of your gross salary per year to fund it. It's really not that great and you can do a lot better with average S&P500 returns. People who started earlier in state employment had much better terms. They can't really renege on prior obligations without bankruptcy, but future obligations should be much more reasonable. The 401k-style plan is pretty attractive so I think the state is trying to encourage most to avoid the pension in the future. Most of my coworkers I've spoken to have not chosen the pension plan


giant_toad42 t1_iy4sn5w wrote

You know pensions are an anomaly these days. Be happy you have one at all.

Do you still get state provided non-Medicare healthcare after retirement too?


bomgd3 t1_iy5dqks wrote

I didn't choose the pension option but I guess it's nice to have for people who don't want to monitor their own investments.

To get the healthcare benefit after retirement you have to pay 3% of your gross salary into the healthcare fund for 15 years. It's quite a chunk of change


giant_toad42 t1_iy5gtom wrote

Wow. Totally worth it, IMO. As a cost - damn, that's actually cheap and extremely reasonable.

If you can afford it, take it.


SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy40h12 wrote

That's actually good to hear. In the past I believe it was after 2 years of service and the budget has slightly improved thanks to Lamont. I know it is also public sector union pension credits and such that are hurting us as well. Not necessarily just state employees. I am an E-2 electrician for the state and we get a ridiculous payout. While I would hate to see it go, I recognize a lot of our benefits are related to the high cost of energy here. The sad part is, the average E-2 makes $85k+ per year and most of my coworkers live pay check to pay check because they see no consequence to doing so.


bomgd3 t1_iy5d48j wrote

Let me guess, they all drive $50K pickup trucks?


SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy5egxf wrote

They absolutely do. I try to provide budget advice to people I work with. I was enlisted navy and learned to mostly stay within an E-5 salary so I save allot. They really just don't have the financial responsibility they need and don't want to change their life styles or don't want to fight with their spouses about cutting back.


SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy5fr03 wrote

That being said, the people who have moved down south don't have the same costs on the basics so it does have an effect. Eating well in this state for a family of 4 is about $1000 a month, gas is expensive here, when I first moved back to CT my car tax quadrupled even though my car was a year older. Insurance is higher and even health care costs more.



We are legally obligated to pay past pension obligations. We have signed contracts with workers laying out how much they would get in pensions, and it would be blatant theft to unilaterally stop paying the pension obligations we owe.

Not paying the pension obligations would be the equivalent of just refusing to pay our debt obligations to banks and bondholders. We can't legally just decide that we are no longer going to pay back the bond holders, and we can't legally not pay the pensioners.

CT past pensions were definitely too generous, especially all those tier 1 pensions that went to 1997 and the tier 2 pensions that went until 2011. But CT can only negotiate pensions for new employees. Currently new employees get tier 4 pensions, which are not at all generous. If we reduce those pensions further we will have to offer higher pay to new employees to attract people to those jobs, and CT is already having a hard time filling all the open positions in the state government (I don't have a strong position on if we should go with higher pay lower pensions or lower pay higher pensions).

The biggest problem than the pension amounts was that CT didn't save their actuarily required amount to actually pay for those pension obligations upfront, so we now have a massive portion of pension obligations that we never saved for that we need to pay.

CT is on a path towards paying down our past pension debt. So long as responsible legislatures and Governors are elected we will continue to pay about the same dollar amount until 2048 (which will gradually reduce it's amount as a percentage of the total budget) and after that we will be able to pay significantly less as we will have paid back all of our unpaid for pension obligations, and future payments will be for only pension benefits earned that year. Lamont has put us on this path, unpaid for tax cuts that Republicans proposed would accomplish the opposite.


SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy4zc02 wrote

 This was a good response. Thank you. Like I said, I actually am not upset with Lamont and I know Dan Malloy personally.  My parents actually introduced him to his wife.  I vote as an independent, but I voted for Lamont in this last election. I see Hartford's history and it's value. I do think that we are spiralling again though. We never really recovered from 2008, had a quick adrenaline shot during Covid from everyone leaving New York and Massachusetts, but we need to get cost of living under control in this state.  My fiancé and I make about $130,000 a year combine and would prefer to live here for the school system and general quality of life but many people I work with don't have a second income and things like electric bills, cost of gas and diesel, the cost of food and high property tax\car tax are making them all apply down south to get away.

volanger t1_iy4yt6q wrote

Isn't ct budget actually balanced? Lamont did that one. There's a lot to complain about him not doing, like not going after Eversource, but budgets balanced my dude


SKIPPY_IS_REAL t1_iy5e120 wrote

So yes and no. The september budget report has a ton of context to it, for example, the surplus is predicted based on the first three months of the fiscal year so far. Beyond that, these two paragraphs sorta suggest we got saved by the pandemic and that we are living on borrowed time.

A surging stock market between 2018 and early 2022 drove much of the budget surpluses. But even as the market has cooled, other factors have helped the state.

According to Beckham’s report, rising interest rates have improved the state’s cash position by $95 million over the past month, while the federal government’s extended public health emergency has bumped Medicaid payments to Connecticut up by $30 million.

The source is this

I edited for a typo.