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Progressives call push to change Constitution "risky," Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire; new report compares ways NY can get cleaner air, help disadvantaged communities.

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House Speaker McCarthy aims to pin a shutdown on White House border policies, President Biden joins a Detroit auto workers picket line and the Supreme Court again tells Alabama to redraw Congressional districts for Black voters.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

Advocates Say Budget Continues Disinvestment in Children

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016   

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The budget passed by the legislature cuts investment in children and families, undermines transparency and jeopardizes future prosperity; that's the assessment of a leading child-advocacy organization.

Ellen Shemitz, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, says overall, the cuts to programs that support children and families were small compared to some other program areas.

But she maintains relying on cuts alone to balance the budget was unnecessary.

"We live in a state where there are tremendous resources and there's great wealth, and in failing to tap that wealth and to access those resources, we're failing to make really significant and important investments in children," says Shemitz.

An analysis by Voices for Children shows critical programs for children and families are being cut by more than $230 million.

Shemitz adds the cuts follow on decades of state disinvestment from schools, family health, child welfare and other services.

She says legislators can bring in new revenue next year without huge tax increases, by making adjustments within the existing tax structure.

"And very importantly looking at loopholes and exceptions from current taxes, particularly with respect to tax exemptions in the sales tax area," she says.

Shemitz says all tax exemptions in Connecticut now total more than $7 billion.

She is also concerned that the state has fundamentally altered the way it will calculate this and all future budgets. Rather than starting with the cost of maintaining the same level of services, legislators will only look at what was budgeted in the previous year.

"That means, by definition, each year, even without any policy changes," says Shemitz. "The funding that's available is going to effectively shrink because costs will increase without any adjustment."

She says state investment in health care, human services and education are critical to ensuring that the children of Connecticut will be able achieve their full potential.



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