June 22, 2017

Voices from the Capitol (XXIV): Looking Back, Looking Forward

Roger Senserrich

In today's email:

 

Budget Deadlines

What happens if no budget has passed before the end of the fiscal year? Keith Phaneuf published a long article in the CT Mirror with an extended explanation on what we know and what we do not know about the state’s finances if we do not have a budget agreement by the end of this fiscal year, June 30.

“For more than 100 years, Connecticut has periodically grappled with what to do when the fiscal year begins and a new budget is not in place to greet it.

But with just 15 days left in the outgoing fiscal year — and a $2.3 billion deficit looming after that — gridlocked legislators’ inability to adopt a new budget has huge repercussions across a wide spectrum.

Big question marks already hang over some social services for children, the poor and disabled, as well as certain aid to cities and towns.”

The title of the article says it all: Without a CT budget by July 1, the options are all bad.

 

Chart of the Week: Budget Gimmicks

None of the four budget proposals under consideration at the Capitol (Governor, House Republicans, Senate Republicans and Democrats) addresses the need for reliable, sustainable new revenue. Instead, they all largely rely on transferring monies between accounts.

Most of the money comes from raiding the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account and Special Transportation Fund. Diverting these dollars will likely result in increased property taxes, cuts in municipal services, and/or delayed improvements to critical infrastructure. After excluding these transfers, only the proposals from the Governor and the Democrats actually raise new funds, although even in these two cases the vast majority of revenue still comes from short term gimmicks.

Download our complete analysis of the four budget proposals here.  

 

The Affordable Care Act is in Real Danger

Senate Republicans are making steady progress in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). New reports suggest that the negotiators are close to reaching an agreement on a new bill that is expected to look similar to the one already passed by the House of Representatives.

In an unusual move, the draft is not expected to be made public. The bill will be sent directly to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for scoring, and will only be made public once the CBO completes its report. Senate leadership intends to bring the bill to a vote before the end of the month, meaning that the proposal will barely have any public debate before it goes to the floor. A bill that could potentially leave tens of millions of people without health insurance is being drafted and pushed forward in almost complete secrecy by a small group of senators. In contrast, when the ACA was under consideration there were many public hearings before Congress.  

For more information on the ACA repeal efforts and their impact in Connecticut, click here. Our Senate delegation is opposed to the repeal efforts. We encourage you to call them to share your story about why the ACA is important, and thank them for their support. You can find their contact information here.

 

Events

CT Data Days: Equip, Synthesize, and Mobilize with Data:

CT Data Collaborative will continue its conference series next Friday June 23 from 8:30AM to 12:15PM at the Omni Hotel in New Haven. The conference draws municipal leaders, state agency staff, nonprofit organizations, and community organizations in conversations about data use and production across the state. Our Fiscal Policy Fellow, Derek Thomas, will present an overview of the state budget as well as details on the four budget proposals for the next biennium during the 9AM session. Attendance is free - register here.

Senator Blumenthal: ACA Repeal Field Hearing

At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, June 23 at New Haven City Hall, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal will convene a second emergency field hearing as GOP Senate leadership continues its secret efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip coverage from millions of Americans.

Please RSVP to Elizabeth_benton@blumenthal.senate.gov and indicate whether you would like to be placed on the list to testify.

 

Legislative Session Review

The 2017 legislative session is over. Due to the budget situation, legislators focused on fiscal issues this year, meaning that legislative activity in other areas was lower than usual.

Despite this, the General Assembly did consider and pass a significant number of bills that affect children and families, as well as some important provisions that will directly impact the state´s long-term fiscal health. We will be releasing a legislative brief this week with the most important bills we tracked and advocated for during the session.

 

What We Are Reading/ Listening to

Issue Areas:
Budget and Tax, Early Care, Health