In today’s email:
- Budget updates: legislators aim for a vote on Friday, October the 13th
- The fight to define the spending cap
- Federal Update: a tax cut for the wealthy
Budget updates: The Friday the 13th Vote
As expected, the General Assembly did not overturn Governor Malloy’s veto on the latest budget proposal. Although the House convened Tuesday for a vote, no legislator called for a motion to reconsider the bill. Despite calls from some legislators for a second override session, the Speaker is unlikely to bring this budget back for a vote again, meaning we are truly back in square one.
The plan, for now, is for the General Assembly to convene again on Friday, October 13th – the last possible date to get a budget on the books and signed by the Governor before November 1st. Local governments are already grappling with big budget cuts as several municipal grants were dramatically reduced this month; any further delays in the vote could tip Hartford towards insolvency.
Budget talks continue apace, with taxes, structural reforms and the spending cap being the main sticking points. The CT Mirror has a good overview here; read some additional notes on the spending cap below.
Call to Action: A Budget that Represents Our Values
Connecticut urgently needs a state budget grounded in a commitment to economic growth, equity, and good fiscal governance. Any further delay only weakens our schools, towns, and social services, placing a growing burden on those most vulnerable.
The solution to Connecticut’s budget woes should not look backwards and rely on old ways of doing business. Cutting spending with no new taxes or raising taxes without making strategic spending decisions might balance the budget this year, but it will not address the long-term challenges Connecticut faces. We need a new approach that builds a strong foundation for Connecticut: a state budget that results in thriving families, equitable opportunity, and fiscal responsibility. Doing so will require bold action, fearing not taxes or structural reforms but rather the lost potential of our children, families, and communities.
Call your legislators and tell them we need a budget that moves Connecticut forward toward equitable economic growth, increased opportunity, and sustainable, efficient government.
Click here to find your legislator and contact them today. Click here to download our latest brief mapping a path forward for Connecticut using ideas and proposals shared across party lines.
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.
Implementing the Spending Cap
As reported in the CT Mirror, one of the points of contention between Republicans and Democrats to reach a budget agreement is defining the spending. Both parties included changes to the current statutory cap in the budget proposals. We testified this past legislative session about the importance of the spending cap, warning that a badly designed cap could do more harm than good to the state economy.
Today we are publishing an expanded analysis of both the Republican and Democratic proposals, as well as an assessment on whether a statutory cap is an effective tool to promote good fiscal governance in the state. You can download the report here.
Federal Update: A Tax Cut for the Wealthy, A Health Care Mess
With the ACA repeal finally behind us (at least for now), there are two main issues facing Congress that warrant our attention: the Republican tax proposal, and health care programs that need reauthorization.
The Republican tax proposal:
The White House and Republican leaders in Congress presented their framework for a tax reform last week. The overall picture is a big tax cut overwhelmingly tilted toward the richest taxpayers in the country; working families would be largely an afterthought, with some even seeing a tax increase. In Connecticut, 82.6 percent of the tax cuts would benefit the richest one percent of taxpayers. The Institute on Taxation and Policy has the numbers here.
The tax cuts will have a huge impact on the federal budget, adding $1.5 trillion to deficits over ten years. This could lead to significant cuts to social programs, if they are eventually paid following the budget cuts proposed by Republicans in Congress. CBPP has more.
Health care reauthorizations: CHIP, CHIME and MIECHV
Congress let funding for three critical programs run out last week: the Children´s Insurance Program (CHIP); the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act; and the Maternal, Infant, and Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) program. We explain in some detail what these programs entail here.
If funding is not reinstated soon, program impacts will be severe for Connecticut families. 2,738 children and families receive services under MIECHV; Karen Siegel, our Health Policy Fellow, provides a good overview on how the loss of CHIP funding will impact Connecticut in the coming months. Right now, the Senate and House have two-different bills to reauthorize the programs; the House proposal includes damaging cuts to ACA and Medicare programs funding CHIP. These are bipartisan programs, so we are cautiously hopeful that reauthorizations will pass before next year.
Save the Date: First for Kids Awards
Thursday November 9, 2017
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Please join us for an evening of music, mingling, and celebration as we honor three outstanding voices for Connecticut’s children.
When: Thursday, November 9, 2017, 5:00 to 7:00 pm
Where: Pond House Café, 1555 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford
The 2017 First for Kids Honorees
- Sharon Langer: Lifetime Achievement Award
- Arielle Levin Becker: Media Voice Award
- Vincent Espino: Youth Voice Award
To register, click here.
What We Are Reading
- "America's Child-Poverty Rate Has Hit a Record Low: It fell thanks to government policies, not the expansion of the economy, researchers found."”The Atlantic.
- "Tax Reform in the Age of Inequality", Brookings.
- "Proposed Senate Budget Is Likely to Leave Millions of Americans Worse Off", CBPP.
- "SCOTUS Hears Arguments in Case that Could Tilt Legal Landscape in Favor of Corporate Lawbreakers", NELP. More information in this blog post.
- "More CT Employers Expect Hiring to Increase for Remainder of Year; Hartford Region Lags State", CT by the Numbers.
- Using algorithms to predict potential child neglect. The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.