Voices from the Capitol (XXXII): A Shortsighted Budget

Back • September 1, 2017 • Uncategorized

In today’s email:

Budget News: House Democrats Budget Proposal

Last week, House Democrats introduced a new budget proposal. The document has some significant differences from the Governor’s proposal, with some much needed new revenue and significant changes to municipal aid and social service spending.

In a new policy brief, we analyze the House Democrats proposal in detail. We focus on the proposed new revenue sources, changes to municipal grants, and proposed cuts to education, child welfare, juvenile justice, health care, and social services. Here is our initial take:

To solve the short-term budget crisis and lay the foundation for future prosperity, the legislature and the Governor must use all tools available, seeking both new revenue and expense-side savings.The House Democrats’ most recent budget proposal takes steps in that direction, acknowledging the need for new revenue to balance our budget gap (…).

Despite this important step, the budget still falls short in the severity of the cuts endorsed and the impact of the new revenue approach chosen.(…).

Our state needs a balanced budget approach that raises necessary revenue and targets resources where they are most effective: a budget that includes both shared sacrifice and shared opportunity, addresses the structural causes of our persistent deficits and municipal funding imbalances, and prioritizes equitable growth. None of the budgets put forth to date meet this challenge.

Coming Up: House Convenes, September 14

The House Democrats budget proposal is still a work in progress. Legislators are debating some areas, and House leaders are in negotiations with Senate democrats and the Governor to get a bill that has the votes to pass. Members of both parties are currently involved in the talks, although it is likely that the proposal will be approved only with Democratic votes.

As of today, the House has scheduled a session on September 14, although it is unclear if they will vote on a budget. If they vote and the proposal passes, the Senate would likely vote the following week. Senate Democrats will need the tie-breaking vote of the Lieutenant Governor for the budget to pass on a party line vote.The bill would then be sent to the Governor for his signature. He could sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. Recently, he has expressed disagreements with some of the provisions – although he hasn't threatened to veto this particular version.

Still Important: Call Your Legislators

As the budget negotiations move to a new, and hopefully final, phase, it is now more important than ever to reach out to your legislators. A budget is about making hard choices; lawmakers will be making many of these hard choices in the coming two weeks.

Connecticut’s budget is the clearest statement of our policy priorities. As negotiations slowly move forward, we should keep reaching out to legislators to tell them that it is time for Connecticut to approve a budget that makes children and working families in the state its priority. We need a balanced budget approach that includes both a sound strategy for state spending and modernized new revenue so Connecticut can preserve crucial services and build a strong foundation for the future.

Click here to find your legislator – contact them today.

Want More Action Alerts?

As the budget negotiations continue, we will be sending more action alerts to our "Voices from the Capitol" mailing list. Make sure you are subscribed here.

Federal Update: Children’s Health Insurance at Risk

Since 1997, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has worked with Medicaid to ensure that children from low and moderate-income families have health insurance. In 2016, this bipartisan program covered 8.4 million children in the United States and over 17,000 children in CT.

This program is now at risk. Unless Congress reauthorizes its funding before the end of September, these children will become uninsured.

In our new policy brief we provide an overview of the  CHIP program, why it matters to families and the state budget, and what Congress must do to keep it funded. You can download the report here.

Events: Book Presentation

Richard Rothstein will be discussing and signing his new book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, in New Haven and Hartford on September 12.

  • September 12, at Noon, Trinity College, Hartford, CT, Mather Hall, Terrace A-B-C rooms, 300 Summit Street, Hartford. Free to attend, but RSVP Here.
  • September 12, at 4:30 p.m., New Haven. The Connecticut Open Communities Alliance hosts a reception at The Mory's Association, 306 York Street New Haven, CT 06511. (Tickets, $100 per person) RSVP Here.
  • September 12, at 6:00 p.m. Yale Law School, Sterling Law Building, New Haven.  RSVP Here.

In this book, Richard Rothstein explodes the myth that America's cities came to be racially divided as the result of individual prejudices, personal choices to live in same-race neighborhoods, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law uncovers a forgotten history of how racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments created the patterns of residential segregation that persist to this day. The Color of Law concludes that because residential segregation was created by government action in violation of the constitution, we are obligated to remedy it.

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