This press release, offered unedited here for information sharing purposes, was released today by the Senate Republican leader:
Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) released the following statement in response to misstatements that have been made by union leaders regarding the revised Senate Republican budget proposal.
“After reading multiple public statements made by union leaders over the last day it is clear that some individuals are trying to mislead the public about the Senate Republican budget proposal. Let’s be clear about what the Senate Republicans have proposed. Our plan does not touch benefits for local nurses, teachers, municipal firefighters, police or other municipal public service workers. In fact, the necessary structural changes to state employee benefits we’ve offered, to align them more closely with what local union employees are currently receiving, would actually be an economic boon to municipal and local union employees. State employees currently receive benefits that far exceed what workers such as nurses, teachers, municipal firefighters, police or other municipal public service workers get in our state. By making state employee benefits more comparable to existing municipal union labor agreements the state would have the proper resources to fully fund municipalities resulting in municipal construction projects, funding for our schools and support for our teachers, and the creation of local jobs so that local union members can find employment.
“Also, and equally important, unlike the labor plan offered by top union leaders and the governor, the Senate Republicans don’t believe those making less should be paying the same amount for benefits as those state employees who have significantly larger salaries. Therefore, our plan focuses on protecting those state workers who make less money by having a sliding scale based on salary for health care premiums which benefits lower paid employees.
“It is total error for anyone to state that the Senate Republican plan hurts teacher benefits. Unlike the Democrats’ plans that push the costs of teachers’ pensions onto municipalities, our budget protects against this change. In fact, over the next two years, our budget also puts $170 million more into a new state education funding formula - and almost $700 million into education over 10 years so that we can fairly fund schools and support teachers across the state.
“What is abundantly clear is we need to change the direction of our state. We cannot continue down this path. Unnecessarily, the state is faced with cutting social services and underfunding municipalities. Our budget paves a new path to a sustainable future with less debt and more financial stability. That benefits state employees and taxpayers alike. Efforts to deceive and manipulate the very people who have been hurt by the state’s disastrous financial situation help no one. I’m disappointed to see union leaders misrepresent the truth to the rank and file.”
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