The Malloy administration is getting a lot of flak for a move that deserves applause.

This week, the Department of Developmental Services announced it will partner with private providers to administer 40 currently state-run group homes and provide other services for those in the agency’s care.

This move will save Connecticut taxpayers an estimated $70 million annually—with no loss in services.

For years—decades, even—CBIA and yours truly have been calling for administrations and legislatures to make long-term reforms to stabilize the way state government delivers core services and programs to help our neediest citizens.

We are not alone.

The Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century has also noted that the state should actively review the way community services are provided and determine where they could be delivered at a lower cost by nonprofit providers.

Change is difficult, and no one wants to see layoffs.

A long overdue change that should be applauded—and where appropriate, expanded.
But these changes are necessary, and they stand as a strong example of how the state can partner with the private sector to save taxpayer dollars; provide good, stable jobs throughout the state; and meet the needs of those served by DDS without compromising on quality.

From a care perspective, the administration made it clear there would be no loss in services.

From a budgeting perspective, delivering $70 million in annual savings for the same level of services is common sense.

And from a long-term perspective, this is the type of change that Connecticut needs in order to stabilize its finances.

So is achieving a $37 million reduction in state employee overtime this year--after spending a record $256 million the previous year.

Connecticut’s network of private, nonprofit service providers has delivered quality care often side-by-side with similar state worker services.

It can’t be overstated: This decision does not mean a cut in services or in the quality of those services.

It's a long overdue change that should be applauded—and where appropriate, expanded.

Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.