Children’s health, safety, education, and well-being are largely dependent on their families' ability to make ends meet. For decades, Connecticut’s working families have faced stagnating wages, rising costs, and growing economic insecurity.
While Connecticut’s economy grew between the 2001 recession and more recent Great Recession, wages for the bottom 50 percent of wage-earners flatlined over the same period. As a result, Connecticut workers in the lower half of the income scale entered the most severe recession in three generations worse off than they were going into the milder 2001 recession.
Economic insecurity hits children the hardest. Children raised in poor homes are far more likely than their higher-income peers to suffer from poor health, to struggle in school, to face involvement in the criminal justice system, and to have difficulty completing college and obtaining a good job. Child poverty is a disease that ripples throughout the lives of everyone involved, including community members and taxpayers, and it has been estimated to cost the United States a half trillion dollars a year—nearly 4 percent of GDP—due to the associated costs of crime, poor health, and forgone productivity.
Connecticut should prioritize proven investments that develop our human capital, renew economic opportunities, and help families make ends meet. We should:
- Avoid state budget cuts that undermine the economy and reduce supports for working families such as the earned income tax credit (EITC).
- Pass a child tax credit that adjusts for the high cost of raising kids and helps poor and moderate-income families make ends meet and raise thriving children.
- Increase access to high-quality child care so that more parents can go to work knowing their children are in settings that are safe, healthful, and educational.
- Expand public investment in education, from pre-school through higher education. Connecticut must act to broaden access to affordable, high-quality preschool, reduce the achievement gap, and curb the number of youth who drop out of high school, as well as increase funding for college scholarships and expand financial support for public colleges and universities in order to limit tuition increases.