To see how great of a problem Connecticut has with state spending, look no further than HB 6351, which calls for $337 million more than what’s budgeted for this fiscal year to make ends meet in several areas of state government.

That figure exceeds what the state receives in revenue each year either from lottery sales or tribal state gaming.

HB 6351 requests additional spending for corrections, social services, emergency services, and mental health services.

In most fiscal years, agencies’ “deficiency” requests are closer to $100 million. The current shortfalls indicate a greater use of state services but could also suggest poor planning and inefficient operations.

It’s understandable that the major part of the request—$245 million for several aspects of Medicaid—reflects one of the highest-growth areas of state spending and an area of increasing public need to care for the most vulnerable of Connecticut’s citizens. But it’s an area that’s also routinely over budget, year after year.

The state has to find ways to control its Medicaid expenditures and deliver service more efficiently, or it will face even greater pressure on the state budget and a reduced ability to meet people’s needs.

The Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century has released numerous recommendations on how the state can save taxpayer dollars and deliver better services in many aspects of the largest cost-drivers in the state budget--including corrections and Medicaid.   

Accelerating implementation of proven, practical reforms—such as those proposed by the Institute and seen in the best practices of other states—will enable lawmakers to control spending, avoid crippling tax increases, improve the effectiveness of state government, and increase business confidence.

CBIA specifically encourages the Appropriations Committee to call for a review of the best practices of other states in Medicaid cost savings and a set date to begin implementation of the best recommendations.  

In addition, the committee should work closely with the governor to make sure that the state budget includes realistic estimates of costs.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Pete Gioia at 860.244.1945 or pete.gioia@cbia.com.