A Budget for All Connecticut? Evaluating the Transparency of the State Budget Process

Back • Publication Date: November 8th, 2012

Authors: Wade Gibson, J.D.

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Connecticut’s state government scores well on the transparency and openness of its budget process, but has room for improvement.  This report from CT Voices for Children’s Fiscal Policy Center uses a state budget transparency scorecard developed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  Based on national and international best practices, the scorecard provides a standard against which state budget practices can be measured.

Connecticut scores well, earning 74 points on a 100-point scale in which 75 points qualifies for the highest rating category.  The state has also made progress over the past two decades.  Twenty years ago, the state’s budget process scored 56%.  While the state scored well overall, the report indicated that policymakers have room for improvement, particularly when it comes to opportunities for public input and the level of detail reported in budget documents.

To improve accountability and transparency, the report recommends that state policymakers enact several reforms such as:

  • Reporting on how much people at different income levels and businesses of different sizes pay in state and local taxes.
  • Disclosing a list of revenues that are diverted for special purposes outside of the usual budget.
  • Publishing the Governor’s budget in Excel format, so that residents, media, and advocates can more easily analyze proposed changes.