Advocates Say Budget Continues Disinvestment in Children
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.
get more stories like this via email
A Nevada democracy watchdog group said social media, blogs, websites and hyperpartisan news organizations are all working overtime to spread …
Education officials in Ohio want state leaders to invest in free school meals for all students. Pandemic-era federal waivers enabling schools to …
Agriculture researchers say if the U.S. wants more farmers to adopt climate-friendly practices, they will need to be offered some proven incentives…
As the fall harvest season takes shape in South Dakota, an agricultural specialist said there are many ways motorists and farmers can avoid crashes …
Massachusetts residents are being asked to step up, just as they did five years ago, to help their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. The …
It's been more than 50 years since the White House held a gathering about the effects of hunger across the nation. In 1969, the White House held its …
By Caleigh Wells for KCRW.Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the KCRW-Public News Service Collaboration Wh…
As the midterm elections approach, there are concerns about whether Latino voters will turn out as much as they have in past elections. In New York…