Connecticut’s long-term fiscal health and economic growth depend on policies that improve equity and support our most vulnerable families and children. Governor Lamont’s proposed state budget avoids additional major cuts to essential programs and services, though it is based on revenue proposals that fall most heavily on our lowest income taxpayers. It asks little of our highest income taxpayers, who received a substantial tax cut in the 2017 federal tax bill. In fact, the Governor’s proposal would cut state taxes further for the wealthy by eliminating the gift tax and continuing plans to reduce estate taxes.
The Governor would slightly increase spending on the Children’s Budget —funding for programs that directly benefit children—a welcome change from recent austerity budgets. However, these increases fail to keep pace with inflation. Among the positive aspects of the budget are the preservation of HUSKY eligibility for parents and an increase in state funding for the Care 4 Kids child care subsidy program. Unfortunately, the proposal falls short of adequate funding for community-based services to youth involved in the juvenile justice system, which is likely to result in more children in detention, increasing the long-term harm to children and costs for the state.
The report recommends that state policymakers:
- Repeal the state’s Bond Lock and revise the volatility cap.
- Implement tax reforms that begin to correct the state’s regressive revenue system by asking more of the state’s wealthiest residents.
- Protect Connecticut families by restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit, fully funding Care 4 Kids, and maintaining HUSKY health coverage for working families.