GOV. MALLOY: TIME FOR "A FULL-SCALE ECONOMIC REVIVAL"
Proposes $128 Million for His Education Reform Agenda and a Major Overhaul of Teacher Tenure
Calls for Maintaining Fiscal Discipline and Continuing Commitment to Job Creation
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today outlined an overarching vision for Connecticut that maintains recent efforts to stabilize the state's finances and continues to pursue the job creation policies that have begun to spur economic growth. The Governor also announced the final part of his education reform agenda - an overhaul of the state's tenure system so that it rewards quality teachers, not just those who have been in the profession the longest.
"Throughout [our] history, when we were at our best, we were leaders," said Governor Malloy during today's State of the State address. "We led the way for a young nation as it constructed the principles that would eventually become the Constitution of the United States, a set of principles that has long been the envy of other nations, and that still guides us today.
"We led the nation in the founding of colleges and universities that bred generations of great leaders. We led the world in fostering innovation and creativity, allowing us to produce things - great things - that made this world better and safer.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the Governor continued, "it is time for us to lead again."
Of the total funding for the education agenda, nearly $103 million or 80% of the funding will go to high-need districts. The Governor's proposals have addressed many areas in need of reform, including: increasing the access to and quality of early childhood education slots; allocating new funding and implementing new approaches that will improve low performing schools; expanding slots for public schools of choice including charter schools; removing red tape and other barriers that stand in the way of local school districts; repositioning our vo-tech schools to promote job readiness and job linkages; and improving teacher preparation so professionals have the skills they need to excel when they enter the classroom.
The Governor began his address by discussing the tremendous challenges the state faced just last year.
"We had one of the largest per capita deficits of any state in the nation, there had been no net job growth for 22 years, state government was bloated and broken, our relationship with our fellow state employees was on an unsustainable course, and the citizens of Connecticut had no faith that Hartford was any different than Washington, DC in its attempt to do the will of the people," said the Governor.
To address these issues, the Governor worked with the legislature to implement Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), cut a billion dollars in spending, negotiate a historic $21.5 billion concession agreement with state employees, raise revenue, and increase the state's contribution to its pension system.
The Governor stated:
"One year later, it turns out that by taking that less-traveled road we have passed through the crucible of that crisis. In the process, we've brought positive, far-reaching, meaningful, and systemic change to Hartford.
"First and foremost, we grew jobs in Connecticut last year - 9,400 new, private sector jobs were created, the first year of job growth since 2008. We brought honesty and transparency to the state's books by moving to GAAP. We stopped borrowing money to pay for operating expenses, and we stopped deferring our pension obligations. That stability gave the private sector the predictability it needed to make investments and create jobs.
"The best evidence of the change we've brought to Hartford can be found in some of the arguments we've been having around here lately. Instead of arguing over how many billions of dollars of debt we're incurring by deferring our obligations, we're arguing over how many billions of dollars we're saving by meeting those obligations on time. Instead of arguing over how much more money state employee contracts will cost taxpayers, we're arguing over how much money those revised contracts will save.
"Those are very different arguments than the ones heard in this building over the last 20 years."
For Immediate Release: February 8, 2012
Contact: Andrew Doba
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