Everybody knows Connecticut is facing deep budget deficits exceeding $3 billion in each of the next three fiscal years, along with an astronomical $70 billion in long-term liabilities.
Now, a new projection by IHS Global Insight shows Connecticut could have the lowest rate of job growth in the nation over the next five years. If that’s true, our economy won’t have enough muscle to support the size and scope of even today’s state government.
After years of postponing solutions and patching budget gaps with borrowing and one-time funding sources, policymakers have to finally address Connecticut’s huge fiscal problems.
There are, in fact, commonsense solutions to restore fiscal responsibility, make state government more affordable and effective, and grow Connecticut’s economy.
Ideas come from many sources: The Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes, Connecticut Regional Institute for the 21st Century; Gov. Malloy’s Transition Team Policy Committee; best practices and cost-savings ideas from other states; and the longstanding findings of earlier studies such as the Thomas Commission.
Together, they show a number of possibilities, including:
- Changing the state’s approach to long-term healthcare (LTC), saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
- Expanding the use of nonprofit agencies to provide quality human services at much lower cost.
- Reforming Connecticut’s corrections system to reduce spending without jeopardizing public safety. Connecticut and several other states are finding that lower-cost treatment, community corrections programs, and rehabilitation work better and more cost-effectively than incarceration for many offenders.
- Rethinking and modifying state employee retirement benefits for another source of long-term savings. Many types of adjustments can be made to retirees’ pensions and healthcare plans to reduce the burden on taxpayers and yet provide appropriate benefits.
- Streamlining layers of bureaucracy and improving the budgeting process to make state government work better at a lower cost
State budgets and long-term solutions must live within taxpayers’ means. State government can, and must, become more effective, more accountable and more affordable.
Over the next several weeks, CBIA will explore these and other ways of addressing Connecticut’s serious fiscal challenges.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Bonnie Stewart at 860.244.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.