Budget Update

December 21, 2015

The new budget framework is better for New Haven’s economy than the executive proposal. We successfully restored items proposed for elimination and provided some relief to services and to the New Haven economy.

More generally, we protected aid to New Haven and other towns, and lowered corporate taxes in response to General Electric’s protests. Funding for nonprofits - the bulk of New Haven’s job base - was mixed.

I have highlighted issues that you contacted me about, some - not all - programs important to New Haven, and the Health Subcommittee on Appropriations, which I chair.

Highlights:

  • Hospitals: For the past two years, hospitals and health care have generated the most concern. Many of you work in health care and care deeply about access and quality. We added back about half of the Governor’s cut to Medicaid for hospitals. I believe we should have restored more, especially since it is matched by federal dollars, but there were many other concerns voiced by the caucus.
  • Mental health: We added back most of the systemwide cuts to mental health. This is a key priority and benefited patients and providers in New Haven.
  • Developmental services/ DDS: We added dollars and prevented most new cuts to the disabled in community residential and employment opportunity.
  • Arts / DECD: We restored most arts line items such as Westville Village, Neighborhood Music School, and the Shubert.
  • School readiness: We restored the large cut; there should be no change to services. If you hear otherwise, please let me know.

Caveat: this is a partial snapshot. Many programs are not listed here. Further, the budget granted the Governor the authority to lapse about $93 million, directing him to make no cuts to town aid leaving the burden of those cuts on a smaller base. Dollar amounts may change when the Governor uses his lapse authority.

Clearly, revenues are declining. Any budget is a group product, and we will continue to discuss the impact on jobs and our quality of life. In the short term, we were able to blunt the effect of many proposed cuts.