Connecticut’s Declining Children’s Budget

Back • Publication Date: January 24th, 2017

Authors: Derek Thomas, M.P.A.

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Recent budget trends put Connecticut's investments in children and families are in jeopardy.

Connecticut’s high quality of life and world-class workforce are the result of these long-standing investments in education and human services that have laid the foundation of the state's strong economy. In this report we find that the share of the state budget devoted to children has reached a record low, down to 29.5 percent of overall spending. 

  • Although absolute spending in the Children’s Budget has risen modestly since 2008 (by $269.1 million or 4.5 percent in 2017 dollars), the increase in spending in other budget areas has outpaced investments in children

  • Cuts to critical line items last year exacerbated the relative decline with spending reductions totaling $81.2 million in FY 2017, falling most heavily on investments in education, early care, and programs that serve as alternatives to youth incarceration.

  • Higher education experienced the highest percentage point decline and K-12 education the largest cut in absolute dollars.

  • Investments in children declined not only as a share of the budget but also as a share of the overall economy, falling from a high of 2.8 percent of personal income in 2009 to 2.4 percent this fiscal year.