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Voices Speaking

January 17, 2018

The State Economy, the State Budget and the State of Our Children

Roger Senserrich

The budget passed by the General Assembly in October was much more than a budget document. In addition to severe cuts, the General Assembly also imposed sweeping changes to the state's constitutional spending cap along with several new budget restrictions. These rules, together, could dramatically weaken Connecticut's ability to make children and families a priority, and hamper the strategic investments key to long-term economic growth.

The coming legislative session will be crucial. These four new fiscal restrictions (bond cap, spending cap, volatility cap and bond lock) have the potential to make all our efforts moot. Unless they are addressed, fixed costs will crowd out spending in children and families, with the legislature constrained to only austerity budgeting.

In our recent webinar,  Ellen Shemitz, Executive Director at Connecticut Voices for Children, and Ray Noonan, Associate Policy Fellow, will explore these pressing budgetary issues before the state legislature this session. On the agenda:

  • The state of Connecticut´s economy, and why it matters for the state budget.
  • The state of Connecticut´s budget, with an overview of revenues and liabilities.
  • The state of our children, and how the state has shifted away from its priorities.
  • The new fiscal restrictions in the budget, and how they might impede future growth.
  • How to chart a path towards fact-based, equitable solutions.


You can download the slides without the presentation below:


Issue Area:
Budget and Tax
bond lock, budget, Connecticut, restrictions
March 12, 2018

Fixing Connecticut’s Budget Woes? Tread Carefully When Implementing New Fiscal Controls

Kim S. Reuben, director of the State and Local Finance Initiative at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, recently published an in-depth analysis of the risks and potential pitfalls that Connecticut´s new fiscal restrictions, and especially the Bond Lock, have for the state. 

Late last October, Governor Dan Malloy approved a two-year $40.2 billion budget for Connecticut more than 100 days after the fiscal year began. A strongly bipartisan effort, the package included spending cuts, new taxes and fees, and new fiscal controls meant to stabilize and improve the state’s financial future.

Many of these new controls are commendable, but if Connecticut implements strict budget rules without exceptions for recessions and other unanticipated events they could create a new form of state fiscal risk (...)

Based on our research, addressing tax volatility and enacting rules to encourage saving during boom periods are good steps for budget stability. However, locking in strict budget rules without allowing for exceptions under difficult economic conditions, may be short-sighted. And enforcing these rules through bond documents could be especially risky. 

You can read the full piece on TaxVox, the Tax Policy Center’s blog. As you know, here at Connecticut Voices we have made repealing or delaying the Bond Lock our main policy priority for the year. We will be hosting an event about the Bond Lock on March 14th - don´t forget to register!

Issue Area:
Budget and Tax
bond lock, budget, restrictions, Tax Policy