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Voices Speaking

January 29, 2018

Guest Post: Federal Update, January 2018 - the Challenge Ahead

Deborah Stein, the Network Director of the Partnership for America's Children

This article is a guest post by Deborah Stein, the Network Director of the Partnership for America's Children. It provides some much-needed context to the challenges Congress faces up until the end of the year, and how they can impact children and families in Connecticut. 

This update sets forth much of what we expect for the year ahead.

Before we get to specifics, I want to note that there is an interesting development in the Senate: a new moderate bipartisan group, the Common Sense Coalition, has emerged that helped negotiate the end to the shutdown and is now tackling immigration legislation. It's growing by the moment, with 39 participants. Whether it will last and how much difference this might make is not at all clear, but it's definitely worth watching.

If you are having trouble imagining how 39 Senators can actually talk together, the answer is, Senator Collins introduced them to her Native American talking stick and it mostly worked, until a Republican got overly excited and "forcefully tossed" it to a Democrat, accidentally chipping Sen. Collin's glass elephant. They are now using a ball.

I've organized this by issue area rather than chronology, which I hope will make it easier to follow.

A quick language note: Federal funding is either mandatory (funding that is both authorized and appropriated in one bill, in which case the appropriations are either permanent, such as Medicaid and foster care, or for multi-year periods such as CHIP, TANF, child nutrition, and some child care funding) or discretionary (appropriated every year, such as Head Start, some child care funding, and WIC). Discretionary means in Congress' discretion--not at the discretion of the President. Almost always when people talk about appropriations they are referring to discretionary funding programs for which appropriations are annual.

Wrapping Up Fiscal 2018

Congress still hasn't passed appropriations bills to fund the government through the end of September 2018 (the 2018 Fiscal Year runs from October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018). While much of the public attention was over the fight about CHIP and the Dreamers, these were tag-on bills. They were important, of course, but they were not the reason we needed another Continuing Resolution (CR).

The reason we even needed a CR to extend government funding is that Congress hasn't been able to set the top line amounts available to appropriators. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, defense appropriations and nondefense discretionary appropriations (think of it as domestic appropriations) are each subject to an overall cap. If appropriations spending goes over that cap, automatic sequestration cuts kick in across the board for appropriations and a few mandatory funding programs. Learn more here and here.  If the sequestration caps remain in place there will be significant budget cuts compared to FY2017 for which the caps were raised. Since the caps were created by statute, the only way for Congress to appropriate more funds than the caps allow is to pass a bill raising the caps. That means they need 60 votes in the Senate, and that requires at least 9 Democrats (appropriations are not subject to the fast-track reconciliation process).  There is widespread agreement in Congress that the defense cap needs to be raised. Advocates for human needs programs also believe domestic spending must be increased.  Many Republicans want to raise defense without adjusting the domestic spending cap, or by increasing defense far more than domestic spending. The Democrats are arguing that investments in domestic programs are just as important and any increases must maintain parity.  So far they have refused to raise the defense spending cap unless domestic spending is raised equally.

Until the Republicans and Democrats can agree on overall spending caps for defense and domestic spending, they cannot move ahead on individual appropriations bills or an omnibus bill, and we will have more continuing resolutions and possibly more shutdowns.

This is why for child advocates, the big issue for FY 2018 appropriations is to raise the domestic appropriations caps as much as defense. If the overall cap is raised enough, there can be much more spending in all the children's programs that get their funding through annual appropriations, whether that be childcare and HeadStart, or education, or juvenile justice, or workforce training. (Note that most important children's programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, the EITC, foster care, child support, and many more, have mandatory funding, not subject to annual appropriations. This means when the government shuts down they are not affected and for the most part they are not subject to sequestration.)

There is some indication that any agreement on the defense and nondefense appropriations caps will be a two-year deal and include FY 2019.

The current CR runs out February 8. Just as CHIP was attached to the last one as a sweetener to vote for the CR, there are several possible packages that might get attached to the next CR. If they have reached an agreement on appropriations caps, it might be a deal to undo the sequester in defense and nondefense spending for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, in which case the February 8th CR would then give Congress time to allocate those funds among the many individual programs. Other possible sweeteners include a health extenders package (including funding for the Community Health Centers and possibly even Home Visiting, although that is not clear), and the emergency supplemental disaster funding for Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas.

Once they reach a deal on the overarching caps, they can finish up FY 2018 appropriations, probably in one giant Omnibus bill. It's not clear how much time it will take to write the Omnibus once the caps are set. On the one hand, it usually takes months. On the other hand,  there has been a lot of negotiation all along. The current expectation is that there will be at least one more CR on February 8th and possibly more.

Fiscal 2019

Let's review the normal budget process: The first step for FY 2019 would be for the President to announce his top priorities in the State of the Union, and then release his budget. Then all the House and Senate members would send their wish lists to the Budget Committees. The House and Senate Budget Committees would develop budget resolutions in March that set the FY 2019 302b allocations (the amount that each Appropriations subcommittee can spend on programs in its jurisdiction) and the plan for mandatory spending changes. The House and Senate would then vote on a final compromise resolution in April.

If the leadership wants to enable fast-track reconciliation legislation to raise or cut taxes or cut entitlement programs, the authority for that process would be created in the Budget Resolution, which only requires 51 votes in the Senate (incidentally, it does not require the President's signature since it's not legislation, just an internal governance document setting forth the procedural rules). If the Budget Resolution has plans for cuts to mandatory spending or tax cuts, but it does not include reconciliation instructions, any legislation implementing those plans must go through regular order, including requiring 60 votes in the Senate, and is effectively dead in the water.

Congress does not have to have a Budget Resolution and in many years has not had one.

Once the Budget Resolution is final, or in May if they do not reach a final budget resolution but have set the top-line spending amounts and the amounts for each bill, the appropriations committees can get to work on FYI 2019 appropriations. 

This year the State of the Union is next Tuesday, January 30, at 9 pm eastern. Other administrations would be leaking plans for major proposal around now. The only leaked proposal so far is for a large infrastructure proposal; there will also be comments about the immigration proposal that was announced n Thursday and will be officially released on Monday.

The President will release his Budget, which should have a lot more detail, on February 12. This is a wish list with no legal authority. The Congress will write its own budget and choose which of the President's priorities to include. If he chooses to fight for some of his priorities, they will likely get included, but last year he wrote his budget mostly from the Heritage Foundation's budget recommendations and it wasn't clear whether the president would actually fight for any of the budget. Since we are still working on FY 2018, it's still not clear which are his priorities, except for the border wall.

Meanwhile, January 31-February 2 is the Republican Retreat. Keep in mind that this is one of the few times where the House and Senate members meet together. At this retreat, they will decide what they want to do in 2018. The big budget debates will be:

  • whether to include reconciliation (fast track) instructions in the budget resolution
  • if so, whether they will be for entitlement cuts aka welfare reform, or another effort to repeal the ACA
  • if it hasn't been resolved, what the appropriations caps should be for FY 2018 and FY 2019.

The Democratic Retreat is the following week.

The other big budget deadline is the end of February, when the debt ceiling will need to be raised. This could be a non-event, or it could be a big fight with conservatives trying to tie it to a Balanced Budget bill or Balanced Budget Amendment.

Immigration, Immigrant Families, DACA and Public Charge

One outcome of the last CR is that it jump-started bipartisan Senate negotiations to find an acceptable deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and border security. If negotiators cannot reach an agreement on immigration by February 8, and if a new CR is passed so the government stays open, Senator McConnell committed to bringing legislation addressing DACA to the Senate floor for what he called a fair and open debate, including an open amendment process. Speaker Ryan has not committed to bringing immigration legislation to the House floor. If the Senate passes legislation, and the President backs it, that might force Speaker Ryan to move a bill in the House. Otherwise, it's not clear whether even a bill passed by the Senate would force the House to act. The House conservatives particularly object to citizenship for Dreamers and to allowing them to then bring in family (messaging note: pro-immigrant advocates call this family unification; anti-immigration advocates call it chain migration).

On Thursday the President offered a proposal for a path to citizenship for Dreamers in return for fully funding the Border Wall. It is too early to see how this proposal will factor into negotiations or whether negotiations will focus narrowly on Dreamers or include a broader immigration plan.

Meanwhile, there are concerns for immigrant families that are already here, including those with documentation and for citizen children in those families.

First, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are stepping up their arrests and deportations, and they are including anyone they find in their sweeps, not just people with serious felonies.

Second, as many of you know, some months ago the administration released a draft "Public Charge" executive order that would make it much harder for low-income immigrants to enter the country, and in some cases result in their being deported if they used a wide array of public benefit programs. The administration is now planning to release these proposals as regulations. The proposals are not final, but what we know shows that they would make it harder for immigrants to demonstrate that they would not use public benefits, would allow the government to sue people who sponsored their entry to the country, and in some cases would allow immigrants who are lawfully present in the country to be deported if they use public benefits.

Sadly, this proposal and the increased ICE activity has caused widespread fear among immigrant communities. We are hearing anecdotal information about parents removing their children from benefit programs and even school, to reduce risks of records revealing their immigration status and to avoid the risk that they will lose their legal immigration status if they use the benefits. The Partnership is part of a new national coalition led by NILC and CLASP that will provide information on how states and localities may minimize the impact of the proposed regulations. There is an important call February 2 on this issue; please email us if you missed the notice on the listserve.

This week, national immigrant, public benefit, and data privacy experts are meeting in Chicago to try to figure out a plan for developing best practices for state governments, agencies and advocates on data collection.

The key point for child advocates is that, in the past, we have worked hard to integrate programs so that children enrolled in one program can be easily enrolled in other programs for which they are eligible. This strategy may now put children in immigrant families and their family members at risk. You may want to review this strategy or initiate efforts to change agency data collection practices or develop protections against agency data releases. The goal of the Chicago meeting is to develop a coordinated strategy on document requirements and retention that can provide some useful guidance and tools for your work.

Attacks On Benefits Programs

Both the President and Speaker Ryan are very interested in what they call "entitlement reform" or "welfare reform". Benefit advocates are still trying to find the best messaging; one approach is to call it cuts to basic needs programs.

There are two possible approaches for this; legislative and regulatory.

Speaker Ryan would like to use reconciliation to pass legislative changes to Medicaid, SNAP, and potentially other entitlement programs.  His proposals would probably include block grants, per capita caps, and superwaivers (which would allow states to seek waivers blending several programs and reducing protections for beneficiaries). They might also include drug testing and work requirements.  Majority Leader McConnell has said that he is not interested, presumably because with a bare 51-49 majority he couldn't get it through the Senate. However, he would probably go along with it if he saw a path to success, or if he had to agree to try to make it work because of pressure from his caucus.

The President would also like to use waivers to expand the use of work requirements and probably other punitive measures in Medicaid and other entitlement programs. HHS has just approved a waiver request from Kentucky that includes work requirements. A lawsuit has already been brought challenging the waiver. We can expect more waiver approvals and more lawsuits. On the bright side, the Kansas governor has just announced he will withdraw and review his waiver request.

This is a fight that undoubtedly will happen at the federal and state level throughout the year.

CHIP, Home Visiting, and Community Health Centers

As we all know by now, CHIP has been reauthorized for six years. While advocates are thrilled that it has been reauthorized, they had hoped for ten years. Adding those last four years would actually save the government money compared to current law, because the alternatives of Medicaid and the exchange cost the government more. Thus, there may be opportunities to get those last four years included in a new bill. Advocates would like to see the savings from that extension fund programs such as Home Visiting and Community Health Centers, but there are likely to be proposals to use those savings on other programs.

The Census Is Coming Sooner Than You Think

The Census decennial funding is part of annual appropriations and thus has been level funded like all appropriations. Unfortunately, FY 2018 and FYI 2019 is when the Census Bureau needs to ramp up testing and many other aspects, so the Census is woefully underfunded. In addition, there are other threats to the quality of the Decennial funding, including no candidate for full director and an unqualified deputy director candidate for the department who fails to meet legislative requirements for full director, a possible census question about citizenship that would make immigrants much less likely to fill it out, and a decision not to adopt the improvements on race and ethnicity that were developed under the Obama administration and are believed to make it more likely that people would report their race and ethnicity.

Partnership members in California and Pennsylvania are already part of efforts in those states to conduct Census outreach and expand compliance. (I am sure members in other states are as well.) The Partnership has just joined the national coalition working on outreach and will update members on its activities and resources.

Other Reauthorizations: SNAP, Child Nutrition, TANF

SNAP is up for reauthorization this year as part of the Farm Bill. This poses great risks. Not only will it be competing, as it always does, with agribusiness for allocation of the Farm Bill funding, but this provides an alternate vehicle for some of the "welfare reforms" that Trump and Ryan are seeking. In addition, Senator Cochran, who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee and has long been one of the SNAP/food stamp Republican champions, has become very frail, is possibly suffering from dementia based on news reports of his confusion, and is rumored to be likely to be stepping down.

Child Nutrition reauthorization (School meals, CACFP, Summer Feeding and WIC), which is separate legislation and is overdue, is stalled. Advocates are not pushing it because of fears that any reauthorization legislation would make destructive changes.

TANF Is also stalled. If Speaker Ryan sees it as a vehicle for his goals for "welfare reform" the House might start reauthorization legislation, but since his real goal is to cut entitlement programs and TANF is no longer an entitlement program, right now that seems unlikely.

Issue Areas:
Budget and Tax, Family Economic Security, Health
January 25, 2018

A Balanced Approach to Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth

Roger Senserrich

On Wednesday, January 24th, Ellen Shemitz, Executive Director at Connecticut Voices for Children, testified in front of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, urging support for strategic investments that will spur growth in the state economy, create a prepared workforce, and fuel a competitive business environment.

Shemitz urged the Commission to reject an austerity approach to the state budget deficit, explaining that further cuts to critical services and delays to infrastructure repairs would undermine fiscal stability and impede the state’s ability to compete with its neighbors. She stated: “Only by investing in more inclusive and shared prosperity can we ensure stronger and more sustainable economic growth.”

Over the last few weeks, the Commission has discussed the possible causes of Connecticut's fiscal crisis, looking for a way forward. In her presentation, Shemitz laid out the three main causes of the persistent budget deficits: slow economic growth, an outdated tax system, and growing fixed costs. To solve the crisis, she called for an Opportunity Agenda that would prioritize inclusive economic growth, child and family well-being, and equity and excellence in education.

Connecticut´s economic recovery after the Great Recession has been unusually slow, with job growth trailing behind most of the nation and economic output only recently returning to pre-2008 levels. 

Slow economic growth is only part of the problem. Connecticut´s tax system is in many ways outdated, failing to keep up with the pace of changes in the economy. Shemitz highlighted the need for changes across sales, business, and property taxes to assure adequate state revenue and to improve tax equity.

Finally, the growth of fixed costs has crowded out other spending, with non-functional costs (pension contributions for state workers and teachers, health care and pensions for retirees, and debt service) now constituting a larger share of the budget than services for children and families (including education, healthcare, and early childhood).

While the steep rise in fixed costs results from decades of financial mismanagement, the full impact is only now being felt. Connecticut Voices for Children in concert with students from the Yale Law School Legislative Clinic have created financial models to show that existing sources of revenue simply cannot meet the entirety of the state’s obligations. Or as Shemitz pointed out, “Connecticut cannot cut its way out of this crisis. The only path forward is to grow the economy: to grow our way to fiscal health.”  

Shemitz called upon the Commission to recommend changes to recently enacted fiscal constraints that she warned would prevent strategic investments in state infrastructure, public education, and core city revitalization. She urged the Commission to recommend repeal of new legislation concerning bond covenants: a so-called bond lock that takes budgetary and legislative power away from the state’s elected representatives and gives it to Wall Street. “We need to use all of the available tools possible to prioritize inclusive economic growth and open the doors of opportunity," said Shemitz.

You can watch the full presentation below. The slides are available here

Issue Area:
Budget and Tax
Tags:
bond lock, budget, deficit, fiscal
January 17, 2018

Between People and Places: Reducing Upheaval for Children Moving Around in Connecticut Foster Care

The video of our 7th annual Youth at the Capitol Forum is now online. The event featured youth experts, social workers, and policymakers discussing ways to ensure smoother placement changes – transitions for foster children and youth between foster homes, group homes, and other residential placements. 

Participants included two panels of youth, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, and state policymakers. 

Full video below. You can download the report we presented at the forum here

 

Issue Area:
Child Welfare
Tags:
Foster care, placement, transitions
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
Tags:
bond lock, budget, Connecticut, restrictions
November 30, 2017

E-Notes: A Time to Give

In today’s email:

A Time to Give:

For more than two decades, Connecticut Voices for Children has provided advocacy for children across our state, calling for systemic changes necessary to increase equity in opportunity. Our research-based analysis and advocacy have made a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of children, leading to reforms such as the state EITC, which has lifted families out of poverty and removed barriers to children’s healthy growth and development.   

Our work depends on an ongoing partnership with you. Your financial support enables us to provide a credible and timely voice on critical matters, including our ongoing budget analysis and recommendations. Our voice is more important now than ever, given the state’s fiscal crisis and the structural problems that demand innovative, value-driven solutions. We believe that equity in opportunity for children and families should guide all budget and policy decisions. With your contribution, we can work together to make the dream of a better life accessible to all children and families across our state.

Policy Updates

Budget Deal: a Dangerous Spending Cap

Our recent Children’s Budget brief focuses on three policy changes in the budget which have received little attention, but have huge potential consequences for Connecticut´s children and families: the spending cap, the volatility cap, and the bond lock. As written, these three items will put limits on state spending, taxing, and fiscal policymaking, creating a fiscal straitjacket that could potentially put key state priorities in jeopardy.

  • The spending cap puts a hard limit on the growth rate of appropriated funds, based on prior-year spending, inflation, and personal income growth. The budget agreement includes new definitions for the spending cap which make it both more comprehensive and more restrictive, creating a likely crowd-out of discretionary funding for key programs for children and families as fixed costs increase.
  • The volatility cap is a new statutory rule which requires that any additional revenue in excess of fiscal year 2017 income tax collections be deposited into the rainy day fund. While this will have the positive effect of reducing the volatility of income tax revenue, it could limit the ability of future legislatures to raise revenue for current services through changes to the income taxe.
  • The bond lock takes effect in May 2018. This rule will make the state include a clause in all bonds promising not to change the spending cap, volatility cap, or bonding cap except in extraordinary circumstances for the next 10 years. As bonds are contracts, this would hamper any attempts by the General Assembly to fix the spending or volatility caps. It would also tie the hands of future legislatures, preventing them making investments in  much-needed infrastructure or responding to unexpected needs.

These three provisions create structural changes to our tax and budget system in ways that could limit our economic growth and undermine overall well being. Expect to hear much more about this issue from us in the coming weeks.

Budget News: Yet Another Deficit

While the bipartisan budget agreement put an end to months of uncertainty, it failed to address many of the underlying problems. In our in-depth analysis of the budget, we explained our concerns, from damaging cuts to key programs to short-term accounting tricks to close the deficit, without real reform.

Unsurprisingly, the short-term fixes have not been enough to keep the budget in balance, and the state has again slipped into a $203 million deficit. The General Assembly might have to reconvene again to pass a deficit mitigation plan once this figure is verified for another round of program cuts. Meanwhile, the CT News Junkie has reported large built in budget deficits for 2020 and 2021.

Federal Update: a Very Busy December

Congress is back in session in Washington, and they have a very busy agenda. Here is a list of the main issues they plan to address before the Christmas break:

  • Avoiding a government shutdown: the federal government has only enough funds to continue operating until December 8, so Congress must pass a continuing resolution to prevent a shutdown. The bill requires 60 votes in the Senate, so some bipartisan cooperation is necessary. Unfortunately, negotiations fell apart before they could even start.
  • CHIP reauthorization: funding expired two months ago, and Congress has not yet been able to reauthorize the funding. CHIP might be included in efforts to pass a continuing resolution. If no reauthorization passes soon, Connecticut’s CHIP program will likely run out of funding in January and be forced to leave over 17,000 children without insurance. Read more about CHIP here.
  • Tax reform proposal: House and Senate leadership are trying to pass a big tax cut package in the coming weeks. We have written about this bill extensively (here, here, and here). It is an extraordinarily upside-down proposal that pushes large permanent tax cuts for corporations and the very wealthy, eliminates many tax credits and deductions that help working families, and leaves 13 million people without health insurance. Senate leaders intend to vote on the proposal before the end of the week; the House passed their version of the bill two weeks ago.
  • The tax reform proposal also includes a repeal of the individual mandate - a key part of the ACA. This is projected to cause premium increases in addition to leaving many Americans unable to afford health insurance.

ICYMI: Recent Publications from CT Voices

Session in Review
It has been a long, contentious legislative session, dominated by endless budget fights. It was not, however, a meaningless one. We had many policy victories this year in budget transparency, early care and education, juvenile justice, and health care.
Click here to read our review of the 2017 legislative session.

The State of Early Childhood
For more than a decade, Connecticut has made expanding early care and education programs a policy and budget priority. In our latest report, we provide an in-depth look at early childhood programs in our state and the road ahead.
Click here to read our "State of Early Childhood" report.

The Children's Budget
More than a hundred days after the new fiscal year began, legislators finally found sufficient common ground to pass a budget. The Children’s Budget, the share of state spending in children and families, reached a record low in the latest state budget, declining to 27.8 percent of the budget, down from 29.5 percent in fiscal year 2017.
Read More about how the budget agreement will impact children and families in our latest budget analysis.

What We Are Reading

Issue Areas:
Budget and Tax, Child Welfare, Early Care, Education, Family Economic Security, Health, Juvenile Justice
November 13, 2017

House Tax Bill’s Child Tax Credit Increase Excludes 68,000 Children in Low-Income Working Families

Sharon Langer, MEd, J.D.

House leaders highlight an increase in the maximum value of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) as their tax bill’s signature benefit for working families, but the provision completely excludes 68,000 children in Connecticut whose parents work in low-paying jobs, according to a new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Another 94,000 Connecticut children in low-income working families would receive less than the full $600 increase in the credit that would be available to higher income families. Altogether, about 162,0000 Connecticut children in working families would either be excluded entirely or only partially benefit from the increase in the CTC.

Nationally, roughly 23 million children would be partially or entirely excluded from the House plan, even as it newly extends the CTC to families with incomes between $150,000 and $294,000. For example, a single mom of two working full time at the minimum wage would get no benefit from the CTC expansion under the House Republican plan while a married couple earning $230,000 would receive a new $3,200 benefit. Senate leaders have increased the CTC further slightly on their proposal. The basic structure, however, remains the same, so it still provides far larger benefits to higher income families than to families that face difficulties affording the basics.

Helping families that are struggling to make ends meet gives kids a better shot at success. Research suggests that boosting parents’ incomes helps children do better in school, and makes them healthier and more likely to go to college. That’s good for our kids and our economy. Leaving these families out makes no sense. 

House Republican Tax Plan Would Largely Benefit the Wealthy at the Expense of Everyone Else

 

Even as the House tax bill excludes tens of thousands of Connecticut children from its CTC expansion, it spends billions of dollars on large tax cuts for the wealthiest families and profitable corporations. The wealthiest 1 percent of Connecticut residents will receive an average tax cut of $66,020 by 2027, when the plan’s provisions are fully in effect. 

In total, the House bill’s tax cuts would increase the deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Congressional leaders might then use rising deficits to justify seeking large cuts in programs like Medicaid, food assistance for struggling families, education, job training, and college aid – programs that help everyday Americans make ends meet, access health care, and succeed in today’s economy.

The current federal tax proposal excludes millions of low-income working families. But when attention turns to paying for these tax cuts, these are the families that will bear the brunt of cuts in health care, education, job training, and other key programs – a one-two punch that would leave these families worse off overall. Connecticut’s congressional delegation should oppose a tax bill that partially or entirely excludes working families from a CTC increase, provides lavish benefits on the wealthy, and balloons the deficit. Instead, they should pursue a bipartisan tax bill that focuses its benefits on workers and families, doesn’t cut taxes for the wealthy, and doesn’t increase the deficit.

Issue Area:
Budget and Tax

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