Just days before his budget address to the legislature, Gov. Dannel Malloy is fast-tracking ideas for consolidating state government in order to streamline operations, save taxpayer dollars and improve Connecticut’s economy.

The proposals will be part of the governor’s budget message to be presented to the legislature and state on Wednesday, Feb. 16.  

Under the governor’s most sweeping proposal, 81 state agencies would be merged into 57, a 30% reduction that he promised when campaigning for office last fall.

In his announcement, Governor Malloy said, “I’m asking the people of Connecticut to do more with less, and we in state government need to, as well.”

The big shakeup would combine many agencies that share purposes and goals but are now stand-alone organizations. For example, “What sense does it make to split the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the Department of Public Safety?” asked the governor.   

Details on how the mergers would be accomplished are short so far, but Gov. Malloy said that he would be communicating his plan for “a more streamlined and efficient Connecticut government” to lawmakers and the public.

Energy & Environment

One of his specific agency announcements this week was to create a mega state agency that would consolidate the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) and add a new component—a Bureau of Energy Policy and Efficiency. 

The governor said the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will “allow for a more effective coordination of state energy and environmental policies ….  in order to strengthen our ability to protect the environment; to clean, conserve and lower the cost of energy; and to set the table for rapid and responsible economic growth.”

Also this week, the governor nominated Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University, to lead the new agency. Esty is the author of “Green to Gold: Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage.” He also serves as director of Yale’s centers for Environmental Law and Policy and  Business and Environment.

Until DEEP becomes a reality, and pending his legislative approval, Esty would be the new commissioner of the DEP.

Higher Education

Gov. Malloy also proposed overhauling Connecticut’s higher education systems by combining the largest of these--the state university system and the community colleges--with the state's online college under a single governing board. The University of Connecticut will remain separate.

Merging the higher education systems is not just a budget issue but also an economic one, said the governor. “Every state is growing in the percentage of adults with degrees, but Connecticut’s rate of increase for young adults has dropped to 34th out of 50 states.

“We need to make sure we’re preparing our young men and women to have a competitive edge, and at the moment, we’re not doing a good enough job.”

CBIA has called for the state to improve the governance structure of the educational system in order to increase accountability and improve outcomes, and the proposal seems to be a significant move in that direction.

For more information about Gov. Malloy’s budget proposals, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or bonnie.stewart@cbia.com.

Filed Under: State Spending

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