Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: email@example.com
Budget holes, public sector benefits and job creation: these are issues everyone governor is grappling with. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has made considerable progress on each of them, explaining his approach during a lunchtime keynote speech at Governing's Outlook in the States and Localities conference in Washington on Tuesday.
The former mayor of Stamford, Conn., used his first year in the governor's office to institute increased taxes and budget cuts to address the state's two-year $6 billion deficit. He eventually struck a deal with public sector unions to freeze their wages for two years and benefit changes; in return, public employees will be protected from layoffs for four years. And this past October, the Legislature passed a job creation package that had only one opposing vote in each chamber.
This year, Malloy plans on addressing education, saying if the state did a better job of educating current and future students, Connecticut could guarantee full employment in the state with "home-grown talent."
Malloy told attendees that honesty is paramount and communication is key in making big changes, especially regarding pension and benefit reform. "When I look at some governors..." Malloy said, "the last thing and toxic impact of what they did was that there will not be trust again."
The Connecticut governor also lamented the lack of bipartisanship in politics, especially at the federal level. "Whatever happened to compromise?," he asked. "When did it become more important that a member of your party, Democrat or Republican, be the president over doing the right thing?" Malloy then stated that such lack of cooperation would not be tolerated at the state and local level.
Malloy ended the session saying that most of the people in Washington are very reasonable, "when you get away from a microphone."