Lapses in the State Budget and How it impacts state employees


  1. What is a lapse? Lapses are uncommitted funds that remain unspent at the close of a fiscal year and are returned to the fund from which they were originally appropriated or allocated. Lapsed money can also be reallocated to other parts of the budget.
  2. Does every budget have lapses built in?
    1. With a biennium budget around $50 billion, some amount of lapses is expected to be built into each budget. For example, when an employee retires, it might take a few months to replace that employee, those few months of salary ‘savings’ contribute to the overall lapse in savings.   Lapses are also created by delays in starting new programs, and/or higher than predicted federal reimbursements of state programs.
  1. Why is this year’s lapses line item so big?
    1. One way to get around the spending cap is to build savings targets into the budget plan through assumptions. The new budget recently passed assumes the governor will lower General Fund spending by $134 million next fiscal year and by $183 million in 2024-25 by finding savings along the way for a total of $317 million over the biennium.

This figure represents a significant increase in lapses than what we normally see in a budget, especially during years of surplus, and is a consequence of our Governor’s rigid adherence to the spending cap.

  1. What do lapses mean for state employees?
    1. Typically when significant lapses are included in the budget it is in during years of budget crises  – assuming large lapses avoids the General Assembly taking responsibility for cuts and programs in services and leaves it to the governor to implement the savings through job freezes, agency allotment reductions,  or sometimes even layoffs.   However no budget crisis is expected in the upcoming biennium.

So in this sense, the assumed lapses in the current budget may turn out to be essentially an accounting gimmick having no impact at all.    However, they do give the Secretary of OPM additional power to slow or fail to fill positions, and so could end up exacerbating our ongoing fight to protect and expand public services for residents, and job opportunities for state employees.

  1. What is SEBAC doing? 
    1. The assumed lapses are but one part of the problem with the budget. The organized efforts of our members along with allies in the broader labor movement and Recovery for All pushed the budget in as positive direction as we could – significantly better than the governor’s original starting point.  But the governor’s dogmatic interpretation of the spending cap has resulted in a budget that fails to seize real opportunities for progress, especially for working families, black, brown and white, and even moves backwards in crucial areas such as funding for public higher education.  It also presents challenges to getting fair contracts as we move into wage reopeners and new full agreements.  We will need our members to continue to fight against the damage this budget does, and for greater equity and fairness for our members and all working families.


New Medicare Advantage Administrator

Announcement: New Medicare Advantage Administrator

SEBAC leaders  and Health Care Cost Containment Committee (HCCCC) members Jody Barr (Executive Director, AFSCME Council 4) and Carl Chisem (President, CEUI Local 511) joined Governor Ned Lamont and State Comptroller Natalie Braswell at a press conference on May 31st to announce that Aetna has been selected as the new Medicare Advantage administrator for the state health plan following an in depth request for proposal (RFP) process.

This agreement represents a win for the 57,000 retirees who are 65 years and older and their dependents. With absolutely no changes to our plans or benefits, the State is expected to save about $130 million a year, which will lower the unfunded liability by about $7.5 billion — a 31% reduction. Savings like these are yet another example of a “win-win” coming out of the HCCC and the collective bargaining process.

“It is important to address the rising costs of healthcare across our state. As SEBAC representatives on the Joint Health Care Cost Containment Committee, we work to find solutions without increasing out-of-pocket expenses or changing anyone’s healthcare plan, while also seeking out the most cost-effective solutions and saving the state money,” Chisem stated.

“This is a powerful example of how collective bargaining allows a win-win solution for the public good,” Barr added.

Below, we’ve addressed some of the questions we expect you might have, but please remember that much more information will become available over the next several weeks.

When will the Aetna contract go into effect? The new carrier will start coverage on January 1, 2023.

How long is the contract with Aetna? The Aetna contract will be in effect from January 1, 2023 until December 31, 2025 with an option for two one year renewal to December 31, 2027.

I’m retired, but I’m not 65 yet, how does this impact me? Those that are retired but under the age of 65 will remain on Anthem until they turn 65, at which point they will be moved onto the Medicare Advantage carrier (which will remain UnitedHealthcare until December 31, 2022 and then will be Aetna starting January 1, 2023). If you are on disability insurance and currently covered by UnitedHealthcare you will also be switched to Aetna starting on January 1, 2023.

How can the State save money without changing my plan or benefits?   In order for a potential carrier to be successful in the RFP process, they must meet all of the requirements of our plan and they must clearly demonstrate the capability to administer it.  From there, the inherent competitive nature of the RFP process drives the bidders to provide the same services at a lower cost to the State.  Aetna met all of the requirements of the plan and demonstrated an excellent track record of administering similar plans in other states – and Aetna was able to provide all of this while delivering dramatic savings.  The savings are critical to protecting our benefits long term and were only agreed upon because they maintained the complete integrity of the plan.  Bottom line, savings come from competition – NOT from any decrease in your coverage.

The Healthcare Cost Containment Committee was set up with the goal of identifying “win-win” healthcare plans, programs and strategies that serve to save money while maintaining, and in some cases, improving coverage. This committee set out on the RFP process to identify a carrier that matched the current coverage for Medicare Advantage members and provided the best combination of service to covered members and cost.

SEBAC Statement: 3/9/22

SEBAC Statement: 3/9/22

March 9, 2022

Leaders of the unions in the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) are proud that local negotiations teams have secured tentative agreements for fair and honorable successor contracts. They worked tirelessly on behalf of  the 43,000 working people they serve. You can review the wage pattern below.

Every one of the 169 communities and the 3.5 million residents which make up Connecticut depend on public services, which are severely underfunded and understaffed after decades of downsizing and austerity measures.

Decades of downsizing and privatization have left us critically understaffed, even before the threatened “retirement tsunami” by this July. Unless we encourage workers to stay and new workers to apply, we won’t have the engineers and environmental analyst to invest in new infrastructure while fighting climate change, we won’t have the aides, nurses and doctors to care for seniors and the disabled, the teachers and professors to educate our children, the protective services to keep us safe and many other critical public services that keep our state moving. That ought to be something that everyone agrees upon regardless of partisan politics.

During the past 12 years, state workers experienced 6 years of 0% pay freezes paired with decades of sacrifices to their pension and health care agreement. While those measures have saved billions of dollars for the State, they have depleted the wages and benefits of our state workers, which has led to difficulties recruiting and retaining a talented, diverse and knowledgeable workforce to provide the critical public services our state needs.

With thousands of retirements on the horizon, continued underfunding could cause real harm to our public services. Now is the time to invest in Connecticut’s future with a diverse and talented workforce ready to move us forward, not backwards. We hope that these Tentative Agreements encourage our current workforce to delay their retirement and continue to provide these critical public services.

“In the coming months, it is estimated that thousands of state workers will opt to retire, leaving the public services we rely on at risk,” Travis Woodward, President of CSEA SEIU Local 2001 and Department of Transportation Supervising Engineer said. “A fair and honorable contract that works to encourage middle class members to stay in state service benefits everyone in Connecticut who has ever driven over a bridge, taken a drink from a public water source or utilized any one of the hundreds of public services provided by state workers. With 6 of the last 12 years being 0% raises for state workers and numerous givebacks, it was time to recognize the importance of public services with strong contracts.”

“Dedicated faculty and staff at the community colleges serve students — any and all students because we are open enrollment institutions,” Elle Van Dermark, faculty member at Asnuntuck Community College and 4C’s member said. “The SEBAC tentative agreement will help us attract more faculty and staff to the colleges, which we desperately need.”

“Connecticut’s prisons are dangerously understaffed,” Correction Officer Sean Howard, President of AFSCME Local 387, Cheshire Correctional Complex Employees, said. “The tentative SEBAC agreement will help recruit and retain frontline employees, which is critical to improving staffing levels, safety and security in our prisons. That’s why we are urging our union members to vote yes.”

“At the CSUs, faculty go to epic lengths to serve students every day,” Patty O’Neil, President of CSU-AAUP, said. “They worked even harder to serve students during the global pandemic. This agreement would ensure our higher education workers get some thanks for their efforts and dedication so they can continue this important work.”

All 35 Local Bargaining Tables Reach TA’s

All 35 Local Bargaining Tables Reach Tentative Agreements; Next Step: Ratification Votes

All 35 Local Bargaining Tables Reach Tentative Agreements;
Next Step: Ratification Votes

After over a year of negotiations with the Lamont Administration at both the coalition and local union levels, – including “outside employers” like the Judicial Branch, Higher Ed, Criminal Justice and the Public Defenders –  local unions at all 35 bargaining tables in the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) have reached tentative agreements that will proudly be reported to members in their entirety.

These strong agreements have only been made possible through the tireless efforts of the negotiating team members at each local table and the unbreakable solidarity that held our 15 unions together throughout intense bargaining.

As we enter the next stage of securing fair and honorable contracts for all 43,000 SEBAC members, you will learn the details of your union’s negotiated contract, including provisions important to each table, as well as the completely voluntary PrudentRx program that will save members who are on specialty drugs hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.




After several months of negotiations, the Lamont Administration and union leaders in SEBAC have reached guidelines that we hope will assist the local tables in reaching full agreements in the coming weeks.

Negotiating teams will continue to fight for fair contracts at each local table and the hope is that these guidelines will assist negotiators on both sides to reach a full agreement.   Reaching full agreement, however, will require that the Lamont Administration offer honorable contracts at local tables that recognize the hard work and sacrifice members make in service of a public – a public that more than ever depends upon quality public services and the work we do. There are still many important issues at local tables that are still unresolved. If these important issues are not addressed,  locals are ready to go to binding arbitration if necessary (please note that some tables have already filed for arbitration).

SEBAC Coalition Update: 11.17.2021

SEBAC Update on Coalition Bargaining – 11/17/2021

Union leaders in SEBAC and the Lamont Administration met again today, November 17, to discuss proposals. We plan to have additional meetings with the Lamont Administration in the near future. Local negotiation committees will continue to be updated on the status of coalition negotiations.

SEBAC Update on Coalition Bargaining – 11/5/2021

SEBAC Update on Coalition Bargaining – 11/5/2021

As we previously reported, union leaders in SEBAC agreed to meet with the Lamont Administration on a coalition basis in an effort to reach an agreement that would set  a pattern with respect to wages and other cross-unit issues that will be offered at every bargaining table. Today, November 5th, the parties met to discuss pandemic pay and wages. While we have no progress to report from today’s meeting, we plan to continue meeting with the Lamont Administration while local negotiating committees continue their efforts to achieve fair collective bargaining agreements.