Connecticut stands on the cusp of an unprecedented fiscal crisis.
The budget that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will present to the legislature Feb. 8, in an attempt to close $3 billion in deficits over the next two years, is only a portent of a far greater, long-term challenge facing the state.
Simply, the bill is coming due in ever-increasing amounts for the 80-year failure of one of the richest states in the nation to adequately save for retirement benefits promised to teachers and state employees.
Hobbled by debts accumulated by generations of governors and legislators, Connecticut, for at least 15 years to come, is likely to face a bleak and politically dangerous menu of options that could shape the state’s economy and quality of life.
The cost of paying down $50 billion in unfunded retirement benefits, plus other state debt, is eating a growing portion of the budget, squeezing funding for transportation, education, social services and, perhaps next, state aid for municipalities.
Even if legislators ratify a new plan Wednesday (2/8) to spread out surging payments for state employee pensions, the costs for teachers’ pensions and a massively unfunded retiree health care program still threaten to consume unprecedented portions of the state budget.
And that leaves lawmakers with unpalatable choices.
The challenge is compounded by Connecticut’s economic recovery, which lags not only the nation’s, but past turnarounds here.
State officials have raised taxes three times in the … FOR READ MORE CLICK HERE