Impact of the Final FY 2017 Budget on Children and Families

Back • Publication Date: May 17th, 2016

Authors: Nicholas Defiesta and Derek Thomas, M.P.A.

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Following hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts in Fiscal Year 2016, Connecticut policymakers tackled the nearly $1 billion budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 17) by adopting a two-pronged austerity approach. First, policymakers refused to consider any new revenues, taking a cuts-only method that struck $233.6 million from programs that support children and families — a massive reduction that follows decades of disinvestment from schools, family health, child welfare, and other public services. Second, they abandoned current services budgeting, which sets the budget baseline at what the state would need to spend to maintain current programs and services, and replaced it with zero-based budgeting, a tool that masks proposed changes in policy and makes it harder to hold elected officials responsible for the real impact of budget choices. Taken together, these two changes have set up the state for an ongoing and increasing disinvestment in children and families.