Although State Fiscal Year 2009 does not begin until July 1, Governor Rell already has ordered budget rescissions (cuts) to this budget. The Governor’s rescissions will inflict unnecessary pain at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet in a difficult economy. They include cuts to safety-net programs (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, housing/homeless services, State Administered General Assistance); education (State Dept. of Education, University of CT, Regional Community-Technical Colleges, and CT State University); criminal justice (alternative incarceration programs, juvenile justice centers, youthful offender services), and vulnerable children and youth (Children’s Trust Fund, Dept. of Children and Families, Commission on Child Protection ). There were 21 state agency budgets cut by more than $1 million each.
Connecticut has a Rainy Day Fund for times just like this, when the economy is faltering, revenues are slipping, but the need for state and local services is at a high. With close to $1.4 billion in reserve, making cuts in the FY 09 budget — particularly to “safety-net” programs and to core governmental functions essential to the state’s and families’ economic success, such as education — is short-sighted and unnecessary. If we don’t use the Rainy Day Fund when it starts to rain, what is the point of having it?