FAMILY ECONOMIC SECURITY
· Urban Homeownership Loan Fund: The budget establishes a fund to help residents in lower-income neighborhoods purchase homes, was included in the budget. $20 million of Urban Act bonds was earmarked for this initiative.
· Reducing Lead Poisoning: The budget strengthens early intervention in instances of lead poisoning by gradually reducing the blood lead level that triggers parental notifications and home inspections to align with CDC recommendations; empowers the State Department of Public Health to require more frequent testing of children living in cities and towns where exposure to lead is most common; and commits $30 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan for lead case management and remediation programs.
· Early Child Care: The budget includes over $100 million in additional funding for child care. Also included in FYs 23 and 24, the State requires the State Office of Early Childhood to administer an emergency stabilization grant program for certain school readiness programs and child care centers receiving state financial assistance.
· Low Cost Bank Accounts: One of the policies we’ve been advocating for these past two years is the elimination of bank overdraft fees. This year, the Legislature passed a requirement for state chartered banks and credit unions to offer a low-cost, no overdraft fee account (e.g. CFE’s Bank On account). These options will help Connecticut families keep more of their hard earned money in their pockets.
· Childhood Mental and Physical Health Services in Schools: The budget expands health services in schools, increases wages for child care workers, and creates a minority teacher scholarship fund.
· HUSKY for Immigrants: The budget expands Medicaid coverage for children 12 years old and younger, irrespective of immigration status beginning January 1, 2023—and they will keep their insurance through age 19.
· Excess Cost Grant for Special Education: The budget expands special education funding by an estimated $15.5 million, and replaces the existing structure with a tiered threshold system based on the property wealth of a town.
· Property Tax Credit: The budget increases the Connecticut property tax credit against the state income tax from a maximum of $200 to $300 and it also expands the number of families eligible to claim the credit.
· CT Earned Income Tax Credit: The budget increases, for one year, the Connecticut EITC to 41.5% of the federal level, providing low-income residents making less than $58,000 a year an additional average tax cut of $225, for a total average tax cut of $850.
· CT Child Tax Credit: The budget creates a new, one-time Connecticut CTC that will provide $250-per-child (for up to three kids) to single parents making under $100,000 and couples making less than $200,000 this year.
· Tax Incidence Study: The budget expands the scope of the existing State Department of Revenue Services tax incidence study to include tax rates for the top 1% and 5% of tax filers, and moves the date for the next study up from February 2024 to December 2023.
THINGS TO NOTE
· CT Baby Bonds: The budget delayed the effective date of the program for two years as well as the funding authorizations. Babies born after July 1, 2023 will be eligible rather than after July 1, 2021. As such, beginning July 1, 2024, $50 million a year is to be authorized and available for approval by the State Bond Commission; the authorizations will continue to run for 12 years, ending in 2036. There will be no change to the overall funding amount of $600 million. While the delay is disappointing, Baby Bonds remain in State statute and the amount of funding authorized is monumental.
· Sustainable Funding: The budget makes the expansion of early child care and the state EITC, as well as the creation of the state CTC temporary. Our hope is that these appropriations this year will underscore the import of their continued funding in the future. However, as we saw with the scaling back of CT Baby Bonds, people-first policies and resourcing require all of us working together to fight for them. We look forward to advocating on the front lines with you next year!