October 2, 2017

Voices from the Capitol (XXXVI): The October 1st Deadline

Roger Senserrich

In today’s email:

Budget updates: the October 1st Deadline

Back to square one. Governor Malloy vetoed today the budget proposal passed by the General Assembly two weeks ago. In his message, the Governor called the budget “unbalanced, unsustainable, and unwise.” It is unlikely that the General Assembly will be able to override the veto.

Legislative leaders and the Governor, then, are back negotiating a budget. It is not clear when the General Assembly will convene again to vote on another proposal. As of now, it seems likely that the state will not have a new budget by October 1st, meaning that the municipalities will face steep cuts to education grants and PILOT payments in the coming weeks. We explained the impacts of local funding cuts here.

Call to Action: A Budget that Represent Our Values

The solution to Connecticut’s budget woes should not look backwards and rely on old ways of doing business. Cutting spending with no new taxes or raising taxes without making strategic spending decisions might balance the budget this year, but it will not address the long-term challenges Connecticut faces. We need a new approach, grounded in a commitment to economic growth, equity, and good fiscal governance. Doing so will require bold action, fearing not taxes or structural reforms but rather the lost potential of our children, families, and communities.

Call your legislators and tell them we need a budget that moves Connecticut forward toward equitable economic growth, increased opportunity, and sustainable, efficient government.

Click here to find your legislator - contact them today. Click here to download our latest brief mapping a path forward for Connecticut using ideas and proposals shared across party lines.

Want More Action Alerts?

As the budget negotiations continue, we will be sending more action alerts to our "Voices from the Capitol" mailing list. Make sure you are subscribed here.

The Budget: Short and Long-Term Fixes

There are some other important news regarding the state budget - one regarding a short-term fix, the other about Connecticut's fiscal health even after a budget passes.  

  • Recent budget proposals have included a hospital tax as a source of revenue. This tax would enable the state to claim additional Medicaid funding that would revert back to the hospitals, and net $365 million on the general fund. It is a complicated scheme that is also under a strict deadline: Connecticut has to claim the funds by mid-October. The Hospital Association has agreed to the plan. The General Assembly will likely vote on the tax increase separately if there is no budget agreement in sight to preserve this funding, although a pending lawsuit might be a stumbling block.
  • In our recent budget analysis, we stated that neither the Republican nor the Democratic budget proposals included the structural reforms needed to put an end to Connecticut´s persistent budget woes. The Office of Fiscal Analysis’ estimate on the long-term impact of the proposals projects that, under the Republican proposal, the state would face a $3.31 billion deficit between 2019 and 2021. Under the Democrat's proposal, the shortfall would be $3.58 billion. The CT Mirror has an overview.

Federal Update: The ACA Might Be Safe for Now

There is a lot going on at the federal level this week  - and for once, there is plenty of good news. Here is an overview of the things we are following:

  • The Affordable Care Act seems to be safe, at least for now. Senate leaders admitted early this week that they did not have enough votes to pass Cassidy-Graham, the latest ACA repeal proposal.
  • Although they might try again with a new repeal bill at a later date, the collapse of this effort is especially significant, as reconciliation instructions expire by the end of the month. As a result, any standalone repeal effort will require 60 votes in the Senate, not the current 50. It’s still possible that Congressional Republicans might try to combine a repeal bill with the upcoming tax reform proposal or chip away at protections through amendments to other bills. The ACA has been declared safe before only for another repeal effort to emerge. We will keep you posted.
  • Congressional Republicans presented their framework for tax reform this week; CBPP has the highlights. The main takeaway is that the proposal would provide a huge windfall to high-income households, with working families being largely an afterthought. One provision, the repeal of the state and local tax deduction, will hit Connecticut taxpayers especially hard.
  • Congress is working on the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as funding runs out by the end of the month. For technical reasons, money won't just run out by October 1st; states still have funding from previous payments. Families USA has a good overview; here is our policy brief for Connecticut.
  • Another program pending reauthorization is Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV). The House passed a 5-year extension to the program that would require states to match the funds in the future; the Senate bill does not include this match.  
  • Finally, there is the  Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act to provide funding to community health centers. Again, funding runs out by the end of the month. Our partners and Community Catalyst have more.

Save the Date: First for Kids Awards

Thursday November 9, 2017

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Please join us for an evening of music, mingling, and celebration as we honor three outstanding voices for Connecticut’s children.

When: Thursday, November 9, 2017, 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Where: Pond House Café, 1555 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford

The 2017 First for Kids Honorees

  • Sharon Langer: Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Arielle Levin Becker: Media Voice Award
  • Vincent Espino: Youth Voice Award

What We Are Reading

Issue Areas:
Budget and Tax, Health