Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Children Get Harmed While Governor Rell Defends the Rich

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Photo above: Children, parents, and supporters rally at the state capitol on Aug. 25th to highlight how the Governor's cuts have harmed children. Children enrolled in Head Start, School Readiness and Family Resource Center programs have been hardest hit.

In an open letter to the Governor and members of the Connecticut General Assembly the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance noted in part: "For the sake of Connecticut's children, we respectfully ask that all direct service early childhood programs (School Readiness, Head Start, State Funded Centers, Care 4 Kids and Family Resource Centers) are kept whole, whether in a negotiated budget or, in lieu of a budget, in the September monthly allotment.

An example of the cuts in the Head Start program include:

* One or more classrooms have closed at 7 program sites, affecting almost 200 children and resulting in layoffs of at least 2-3 staff members in each closed classroom.
* At least 3 more classrooms, serving 60 children, will close if there is no state funding in September.

The Family Resource Centers (FRCs), located in public school buildings, offer parent education and training, child care, literacy programs, screening of young children for developmental delays as well as other vital services. As a direct result of lack of state funding,

* At least 8 FRCs (12% of all FRCs) have closed.
* At least 33 staff of 13 FRCs have been laid off.
* At least 17 FRCs have dramatically reduced programming by decreasing slots, shortening program length or terminating programs.

Photo Above: Tawana Bourne, holding one of her children at the mic, is a single parent. She spoke forcefully in support of The Head Start program that allows her to go to work so she can support her family. Speaker of the House Chris Donovan is standing at her right and Sen. President Donald Williams is in the foreground.

As Governor Rell continues to protect the rich in Connecticut, she cuts services to children, working people, and our most vulnerable citizens. In Connecticut the richest 1% of taxpayers only pay 4.7 percent in state tax while a middle income family pays 10.2 percent and a low income family pays 10.9 percent of their income in taxes.

Connecticut remains one of the wealthiest states in the United States. Governor Rell has adamantly refused to increase taxes on the rich, even a modest amount, to help close the budget gap. Without additional state funding further harm to programs serving working people and our most vulnerable citizens will continue.

Call Governor Rell's office today and tell her to support early care and education programs that serve children throughout Connecticut. Ask her to end the state budget impasse by supporting a progressive income tax that requires our state's wealthiest residents to pay their fair share of taxes. Call the Governor's office at: Toll-free: 800-406-1527 or Local: 860-566-4840.

By Tom Connolly

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