Governor plans to reduce state employee workforce by 500

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EAST HARTFORD — Gov. Dan Malloy says he has a plan to further reduce Connecticut’s state employee workforce by an additional 500 people.

The Democrat said Wednesday those positions will be eliminated through attrition by June 30. Critical positions, such as transportation engineers, will still be funded.

“We actually have to set priorities,” said Malloy. You’re part of that, I’m part of that, the legislature needs to be part of that as well.”

The governor also announced that there may be changes coming to the state’s pension system, which the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition was not pleased about:

By law, no change in funding provisions can occur unless both sides agree that it is fair to public service workers and the public we serve. We welcome the opportunity to work with the governor, other constitutional officers and the General Assembly on the most responsible way to pay down that old debt and sustain a system that benefits Connecticut’s economy.

Malloy is also unveiling some proposed business-related tax changes to make Connecticut more competitive.

“We can be a competitive state in our region,” said Malloy, but he added that “we’re never going to be as low cost as Mississippi; that’s just not going to happen.”

Malloy made the announcements during a presentation to leaders of state agencies about the state’s budgetary situation. It comes days after Malloy met with Democratic and Republican lawmakers about how to address a nagging budget shortfall.

Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget director, said the state workforce is down about 1,000 positions since Jan. 1, 2011. Excluding higher education employees, there are more than 28,500 full-time workers in the state’s executive branch.

The cabinet meeting comes after the first round of bipartisan talks earlier this week.