What the Federal Budget Debate Means for Connecticut

Last week the House voted to approve what is most commonly called the “Ryan Budget”, titled for its author House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee. The official title is The Path to Prosperity. Prosperity for whom, exactly? In the name of deficit reduction, the Ryan plan cuts taxes for the wealthy while slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other spending that helps our most vulnerable citizens. I’m sorry, what was that about deficit reduction? I must have missed that part.

To me, a “path to prosperity” would instead involve investing in our future generations to ensure every child has a strong educational foundation, healthy mind and body, and that opportunities exist for everyone to reach self-sufficiency. Although the economy is starting to recover overall, people in Connecticut are still struggling, and many continue to wander a long way from that path.

new report by the Coalition on Human Needs and Connecticut Association for Human Services examines the impact of the automatic spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 on more than 140 programs that serve low-income and struggling families, and the specific impact on Connecticut’s most vulnerable families. Unless Congress chooses another “path” (notice a theme here), these automatic cuts will go into effect January 2013.

The automatic cuts from sequester will be damaging enough, but if the House leadership’s budget proposal (a.k.a the “Ryan budget”) goes into effect, the harm will be much worse. Perhaps most disturbing is that programs that are exempt from the automatic cuts under the Budget Control Act would be reduced under the House blueprint.

“Trying to solve the budget deficit just by cutting spending is neither necessary nor effective” said Weinstein. “We do have choices. We can spend $25 million on one more Trident II nuclear missile or we can provide nearly 100,000 dislocated workers with job training. We can give one millionaire a $187,000 tax cut or pay for programs that benefit an entire community, including seniors, veterans and college students.” I couldn’t have said it better.

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