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Budget Season Mini Analysis

As the legislature's budget writing committees move toward their deadlines to produce spending and tax packages, the pace is picking up at the state capitol. Rumors persist that the tough decisions that need to be made this year to bring the budget into balance may force the legislature into summer session.

Thursday Governor Malloy warned state labor unions and the employees they represent that he is prepared to layoff as many as 1,100 state workers in May, and leave more than 100 other positions unfilled, unless labor agrees to significant cost cutting concessions.

All this is taking place against a backdrop of the 2018 race for governor as new candidates step forward each day.

Search for Revenue

The legislature's tax writing Finance Committee is moving toward a deadline next week and along the way committee members seem to be considering every means possible to increase revenue to state government. There is still no consensus on where the committee will land or whether the final work product will be politically palatable to the legislature as a whole or to the governor.

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Public/Private Communication Key

Despite Connecticut facing another year of difficult budgetary talks, there seems to be some positive developments on the horizon. Much more than in previous years, the public and private sectors are making the effort to talk with one another and work together on potential solutions for economic development. This is good news according to Vanessa Rossitto of BlumShapiro writing in the Hartford Business Journal.

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Manufacturing Workforce

Unprecedented growth is projected for the aerospace and defense sector across our nation and our state. In Connecticut, companies like Pratt & Whitney, Electric Boat and Sikorsky have announced long-term contracts for military engines, commercial engines, submarines and helicopters that will spur technology advances and generate thousands of jobs not only within the original equipment manufacturers, but throughout the aerospace and defense supply chain.

A major challenge, however, persists — how to attract a next generation of talent needed to support the industry's expansion.

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ICYMI-CT21 Defense Industry Brief

A CT21 policy brief on the Connecticut defense industry is getting wide attention as reports continue to show the defense industry growing in Connecticut at the same time challenges persist with regard to workforce development in the manufacturing sector.

For more details on our findings read the full policy brief under the "Reports" section of our website.

Moody's Warning

The Moody's bond rating agency is warning what many already know. The investor service says that Connecticut's fiscal situation is so dire, the state is in for years of struggle caused by high debt, high taxes and the resulting stumbling economy.

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Guenther Named Executive Director, CT21

The Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century has named Robert Guenther as executive director.

Guenther, formerly of Webster Bank, has worked closely with the institute, or CT21 as it is commonly known, over the last seven years as a board member and representative on the steering committee. At Webster, Guenther was senior vice president for public affairs, where he directed all external communications and government relations.

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Bail Reform

A bail reform bill designed to decrease the number of people being held behind bars because they can't afford to make bail has been sent to the House for consideration.

Governor Malloy has been pushing the legislation for two years now as a means to reduce costs.

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Defense Spending

As reported last week in a CT21 policy brief, the defense sector in Connecticut is in the midst of a growth period, but a major challenge remains training a workforce that is able to keep up with demand.

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Government Job Loss

A new report says the government sector lost the greatest number of jobs in Connecticut last year and the trend is expected to continue.

Whether this is a good or bad development can be argued both ways, but one thing is clear; continued pressure on state and local government budgets is leading to greater emphasis on trimming the workforce as a means of reducing costs.

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Time for a Change

Retired Webster Bank economist Nicholas Perna says Connecticut needs to stop making excuses and do what has to be done - including changing rules if necessary - to pull itself out of what amounts to a budget state of emergency.

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Spending Cap

Since its inception in 1991, Connecticut's spending cap has never been legally defined by the legislature.

Monday, the process continues. A public hearing will be held concerning nearly 20 bills covering the spending cap topic. At the very least, the discussion will lead to general debate over how to control the state budget.

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