Governor Dannel Malloy set the tone of his final State of the State address Wednesday when he said early in his speech that rather than talk about the budget, he would discuss “something that is a simple concept, but also a bold aspiration.”
And that was ‘fairness.’
Among many recommendations, Malloy called for Connecticut’s minimum wage to be raised, although he did not name a figure. He also called for an extension of the workers’ compensation program to home care workers, and for better protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Lori Pelletier represents over 200,000 local union workers as president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. She welcomed Malloy’s emphasis.
“These are issues that, regardless of party and regardless of where you happen to live, can help families be able to make ends meet,” Pelletier said.
Joe Brennan, president of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, is most concerned with the $240 million budget deficit and what that means for business in the state.
To him, fiscal policy and budget chatter were notably absent from Malloy’s address.
“There wasn’t a lot of talk about fiscal policy or the economy, so a lot of the issues that he did talk about are important issues—was really focusing on a lot of labor-related issues and social issues,” Brennan said.
Brennan, who’s hoping that changes are soon made to Connecticut’s fiscal policy, acknowledged that more of what he was interested in hearing came earlier in the week. Two days before his State of the State address, the governor talked about the budget adjustments he’d like to see. Among them he wants further clawbacks of municipal aid.
Enfield Mayor Michael Ludwick said that he doesn’t know why his town is losing nearly $6 million in municipal aid, which includes about a $3.5 million dollar decrease in Education Cost Sharing.
“We’re trying to push our budget going forward knowing, no matter who’s in the governor’s seat, that we need to be a little more self-sustaining and not so volatile towards state revenue,” said Ludwick.