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Debt and Fringe Benefits

What the Data Show: Fast-Rising Non-Functional Expenses

"Non-Functional" is the budget category that encompasses debt service, state employee pension contributions, current and retired employee healthcare, and other categories of spending that do not directly contribute to a function such as education or transportation. From FY 1990 to 2015, non-functional spending increased substantially as a share of the General Fund. Debt service increased steeply at the start of this time period, before leveling off. Since about the turn of the century, state employee fringe benefits and teacher pension contributions have increased rapidly, reflecting a concerted effort by the state to catch up after years of underfunding its pension obligations, as well as the rising cost of health care. Overall, non-functional spending has increased from about one-sixth to one-quarter of the state budget since the early 1990s.

What the Data Mean

Check out the following Connecticut Voices publications for context on:

And be sure to use the drop-down menus below the graph to explore the components within the non-functional category.



  • Total State Employee Fringe Benefits is the sum of several programs, including but not only State Employee Healthcare, Retired Employee Healthcare, and State Employee Retirement Contributions (these 3 are just the largest components of total fringe benefits).
  • Teachers' Retirement Board is a separate department in the budget; it is not a component of Total State Employee Fringe Benefits.