Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coalition Critical of Gov. Rell's Budget Proposal Delivered Today


Better Choices for Connecticut , a statewide coalition advocating for revenue solutions, criticized Governor Rell and her latest budget proposal for failing to make the tough decisions that will make Connecticut more fiscally sound. By using one-time money to plug the hole in fiscal year 2011 and not including revenues as part of the solution, she is simply creating a larger budget deficit for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 that will have devastating effects on middle- and low-income families. The coalition urged the Governor and legislators to take a more balanced approach to dealing with the budget deficit by including revenue increases as part of the solution, warning that proposals which focus on service cuts will only further damage the economy and make the state less fiscally sound.

“Rather than relying on spending cuts that hurt our families, damage the state’s economy and greatly impede our ability to invest in the future, we need a more balanced approach that addresses the state's revenue problem with a revenue solution,” said Maggie Adair, Deputy Director at the Connecticut Association for Human Services. “There’s a cruel irony here. People’s needs are going up dramatically as the resources the state has to meet those needs are falling. More then ever, people need quality health care, good jobs, and education. So we have to fill that gap between people’s growing needs and what it takes to meet them.”

The Governor’s proposed adjustments to the second year of the biennial budget, which begins on July 1st, contains several cuts that negatively impact middle- and low-income families, including:

· Dramatic cuts to Care 4 Kids child care subsidy funding for working parents
· Impose co-pays on individuals for medical services under Medicaid
· Remove Medicaid coverage for over-the-counter drugs
· Reduce funding by 25% for the Human Services Infrastructure Community Action Program which impacts energy assistance and child care
· Suspend funding to expand elderly transportation
· Reduce funding for Housing/Homeless services
· Eliminate vision care and non-emergency medical transportation for CT’s poorest individuals
· Eliminate summer youth employment

“Rell’s budget address was most notable for what she left out.” said Brian Petronella, co-chair of Connecticut Working Families Party and president of UFCW local 371. “She didn't mention how her budget actually closes the deficit. It's balanced on cuts to vital public services which are a lifeline for working families and our state’s most vulnerable citizens. The only responsible way to get us out of this economic crisis without causing even more suffering is a balanced approach, including raising taxes on very wealthy households and closing gaping corporate tax loopholes.”

Better Choices for Connecticut urged a balanced approach to dealing with the state’s deficit that includes revenue solutions that will help the state jump-start the economy and create jobs while protecting the vital services Connecticut residents count on. The current state budget cut spending by over three billion dollars – three times more than was raised as new revenue. The result of this unbalanced approach has resulted in cuts to vital public services affecting children, seniors and families, including healthcare, education, and housing; job loss across the state; and a new fiscal crisis with the state’s current budget already over $500 million in the red.

Better Choices for Connecticut supports making the state income tax more progressive. Even after Connecticut ’s recent income tax increase for very high-income households, Connecticut ’s wealthiest families still pay a much lower share of their income in state and local taxes (4.9%) than middle-income families (9.9%) and low-income families (12%). The coalition offers several other revenue options including closing costly tax loopholes, evaluating and reducing unwarranted tax expenditures and delaying a reduction in the gift and estate a tax – a measure passed by the Legislature and then vetoed by Governor Rell in December.

Better Choices for Connecticut is a community coalition working to help Connecticut make better choices on ways to improve the state’s imbalanced revenue system so that it advances opportunity for shared prosperity for all Connecticut residents; preserves services for children, families and the elderly; creates and sustains good jobs; and reinvests in the middle class and our communities. For more information, go to

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