Friday, February 25, 2005

Sullivan Criticizes Rell at Budget Hearing

Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan criticized Gov. Rell and her budget yesterday at a public hearing of the appropriations committee.

At issue was the cost-of-living adjustment for workers at nonprofit organizations hired by the state:

When Rell proposed her $31 billion, two-year budget earlier this month, she said she did the best she could to preserve the social safety net. She did not include the back-to-back 4.5 percent cost-of-living raises that nonprofit organizations expected through a new "indexing" law that requires raises for workers under nonprofit contracts to equal raises given state union employees.

Instead, Rell proposed a 4 percent increase next fiscal year and no cost of living adjustment the year after that to the nonprofit organizations hired by the state.

The nonprofits claim that they will be forced to cut services, which will then force people into state-run programs, thereby increasing the burden on the taxpayer.

So... if nonprofit workers make 4% more next year than this, then make the same amount the year after that... services need to be cut? I don't follow.

The article is unfortunately unclear on whether employees belonging to state unions are indeed getting 4.5% raises for each of the next two years. That may be true, and if it is then the nonprofits are really over a barrel. Nonprofits can't be expected to come up with that money on their own, and the "indexing" law is quite fair.

This could also be posturing for Sullivan, who is expected to run for governor next year. In fact, I expect it's a little of both. Sullivan has been on the record criticizing Rell more than any other public official, portraying himself as the defender of municipalities and now nonprofit organizations.

Let's see if he can deliver for them. If so, it will be a relief to already stretched-thin nonprofit groups... and a nice boost for his prospective campaign next year.

Source Leukhardt, Bill. "Rell's Budget Criticized At Public Hearing". Hartford Courant 25 February 2005.

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