On Thursday, Governor Malloy’s budget director announced a series of significant budget cuts to existing state programs. The problem is not only the damage the cuts will do but that they solve only a portion of this year’s growing state budget deficit which is now projected at about $100 million. However, the magnitude of the budget deficit is closer to twice that number, a fact that Malloy can’t keep secret for more than another month or two.
Still Malloy’s initial cuts fly in the face of his repeated promises that Connecticut’s fiscal health is good and that we do not need to cut vital services if the voters of Connecticut granted him a second term in office.
But his actions tell a very different story.
Topping his list of budget cuts was, as expected, Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, along with critically important human services.
CT Mirror has the details at “Malloy’s emergency budget cuts fall on social services, education,” CTNewsJunkie at “Malloy Makes Cuts To DCF, Higher Ed,” and the Courant at “Malloy Makes $47.8M In Budget Cuts To Ease Deficit.”
The most revolting of Malloy’s budget cuts are aimed at Connecticut most vulnerable citizens, children facing severe challenges and those with developmental disabilities.
Malloy cut $9.2 million from the Department of Children and Families and $5.5 million from the Department of Developmental Disabilities. Since there are only seven months left in the fiscal year, these cuts will hit key programs especially hard.
As reported by CT Mirror and others, Malloy has been limiting access to DCF’s residential treatment programs (group homes for extremely troubled children). His latest cut will effectively close the door on new placements and lead the closure of even more DCF group homes.
While a Malloy official explained away the problem to the CT Mirror by saying that DCF was, “committed to maintaining youth in their communities in the least restrictive settings that can meet their needs,” the reality of the situation is that there are many parents and children that desperately need residential options. In far too many cases, the failure to provide a residential placement puts the family and child in danger.
However, in what only can be described as an immoral move, the Malloy administration turns its back on these Connecticut families and children. If Malloy’s action is not illegal, it should be.
In an equally inappropriate blow, Malloy is cutting the Department of Developmental Services including day services and employment programs for those with developmental disabilities. Sad and ironic that Malloy reduces residential treatment options and then reduces options for those who need day treatment and employment services.
Malloy’s human service cuts also include $3.2 million cut from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The cuts to that agency will mean vitally important positions will go unfilled, leaving remaining employees unable to meet the present demand for services.
At the same time the governor is going after human services, he is also cutting an additional $6.5 from Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, this despite the fact that Malloy has already made the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s system of public higher education.
Rather than speak out against these dramatic cuts, the spokespeople for the universities and colleges rolled over in appeasement, thereby assuring that Connecticut students and their parents will be paying even more and getting even less from UConn, CSU and the community colleges.
As Malloy pretends to claim that he is adhering to his “no new taxes” pledge, Connecticut college students and their parents will be paying higher tuition – which is nothing more than a user tax.
But perhaps the most offensive move of all is Malloy’s failure to come clean about the magnitude of the budget problem, even though the election is safely behind him.
While the present budget deficit is officially pegged at about $100 million, Malloy’s budget office is holding back evidence of additional budget problems. The reality of the situation is that this round of cuts solves less than half of the documented budget deficit and more like 25 percent of the real budget problem facing the state.
Even in victory Malloy remains unable or unwilling to tell the people of Connecticut the truth.