Gov. Malloy's State of the State focused on employment, budget, - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gov. Malloy's State of the State focused on employment, budget, crime

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Gov. Dannel Malloy delivered his State of the State on Wednesday. (WFSB photo) Gov. Dannel Malloy delivered his State of the State on Wednesday. (WFSB photo)
The full State of the State address will be broadcast live on air, the Channel 3 Facebook page and WFSB.com around noon. (WFSB) The full State of the State address will be broadcast live on air, the Channel 3 Facebook page and WFSB.com around noon. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The governor addressed lawmakers and the state on Wednesday shortly after 12:30 p.m. as part of his State of the State address.

The main facet of his speech was the state's projected budget deficit.

"We are in this together, and together we shall prevail," said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The fiscal year beginning July 1 is projected to have a roughly $1.3 billion deficit in the state's main spending account, which is typically around $18 billion. 

Malloy won't unveil a new, two-year budget proposal until February. However, he did emphasize that something has been done and it needed to continue.

"Last year we cut nearly $850 million to bring our current fiscal year in balance," Malloy said. "In so doing, we spent less in the general fund than we had in the previous year for the first time since 2002. We’ve reduced the number of state agencies by 28 percent since 2011 — shrinking from 81 agencies down to 58."

Last session, social services took a big hit and Malloy is again asking agency heads to cut costs. About 900 state workers were laid off.

"While we had to go through the unfortunate, but necessary, process of layoffs last year, the vast majority of these reductions have come through attrition," he said.

Fiscal woes also hit cities and towns, some of which found out over the holiday break that they were losing some state funding.

Hartford has its own financial stress.

One year ago, newly-elected Mayor Luke Bronin was asking lawmakers to step in and help. Now on the verge of bankruptcy, Bronin will again be urging lawmakers to do something.

Malloy spoke about revamping the system to help struggling municipalities.

"To be clear, that kind of help shouldn’t come without strings attached," he said. "If the state is going to play a more active role in helping less-affluent communities – in helping higher-taxed communities – part of that role will be holding local political leadership and stakeholders to substantially higher standards and greater accountability than they’ve been held to in the past."

The governor also spoke about how Connecticut's unemployment rate reached 4.7 percent. He called that the lowest rate since 2007.

He said the Manufacturing Assistance Act has helped about 150 companies since 2011 to retain 34,500 jobs and grow 8,000 more.

He also touted the Small Business Express program, through which 1,600 companies held on to 18,000 jobs.

Finally, he touch on crime.

"Our prison population has dropped significantly, and high-risk, violent offenders are serving more of their sentence than ever before," Malloy said. "Recidivism has declined substantially. This progress has allowed us to save taxpayers $70 million in the current fiscal year."

He also briefly spoke about the results of the presidential election, specifically about the role of immigration.

"But let me remind you of this – our state has a long legacy of acceptance, compassion, and fairness," Malloy said. "Regardless of whether your family settled in Connecticut 300 years ago or three days ago, you are welcome here."

Malloy promised to come back back month with more details on how he plans to address the topics he mentioned in his speech.

He also admitted that his plans may not reach his desk exactly how he designed them.

Part of that may be because Republicans have a bit more power this year after winning more seats in the election. The GOP has narrowed the gap in the house and tied in the senate.

The full text of his speech can be read here.

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