Employee Costs and Pensions are driving Connecticut Toward Insolvency

Sean Goldrick got it wrong with his letter last week under a headline of “’Gravy train’ for CT employees is a false narrative,” in response to a recent column by the esteemed Red Jahncke, entitled “There can be no ‘Connecticut Comeback’ Without Union Concessions.”  

Goldrick states Jahncke offered no source for his true statement that, “for more than a decade, state employee compensation has exceeded compensation in Connecticut’s private sector by about 40 percent, the biggest gap in the nation.”

Then, Goldrick says that Jahncke’s statement “likely came from” a 2015 study by the Yankee Institute.  Goldrick is wrong on both counts. 

Jahncke has multiple sources to support his statement, and never cited Yankee’s 2015 study.

Had Goldrick done a little research, he would have seen Jahncke’s Greenwich Time column last April entitled “Lamont should demand givebacks during coronavirus,” in which Jahncke provided three sources supporting his statement.

The first is a 2010 study by Connecticut’s Commission on Enhancing Agency Options, which found average state employee compensation of $105,498 versus average private sector compensation of $74,174, a 42 percent gap.

The other two studies are comparisons of all 50 states, which found Connecticut to have the biggest or near-biggest gap of all 50 states, 42 percent in a 2014 study and 51 percent in a 2019 study. These are whopping gaps. 

Goldrick’s second error was claiming Jahncke used a Yankee Institute study in his analysis.  False.  Not only did Jahncke not cite that 2015 Yankee study, but he did not for a specific reason. The study analyzes Connecticut alone, and the results of single-state studies often vary based upon differing pension analysis methodologies employed.

Indeed, Jahncke provided public testimony before the Connecticut General Assembly in January 2020 in which he cited the two 50-state studies and then explained why he relied upon multi-state studies rather than single-state studies: “when you are being compared to 50 other states, there is no way that anyone can complain that somebody is jimmying the numbers about Connecticut… these are across-the-board, level playing field [results.]”

Goldrick is just such a complainer, seeking to discredit Yankee’s 2015 study, by stating that “Yankee is not a reputable source of research but rather a right-wing, dark-money fueled, propaganda outlet…”

Then, Goldrick cites “meticulous analysis” supposedly “debunking the Yankee Institute report” – analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, which even The New York Times calls “a left-leaning research group.”

Goldrick’s extreme bias has colored his view of Jahncke’s column and led him to make baseless criticisms while omitting important facts supporting Jahncke’s argument.

The fact remains, employee costs and pensions is what is driving Connecticut toward fiscal insolvency.  It must be fixed.

Edward Dadakis 
Greenwich, CT

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