Child poverty forum focuses on budget impact

The Day | By Lee Howard

Waterford ― A Wednesday forum on ending child poverty in Connecticut brought local legislators and statewide nonprofit advocates together to find common ground on policies that could make an impact.

The Waterford Public Library forum, attended by about 75 people and sponsored by the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, found common ground on a proposal to establish a $600 child tax credit that didn’t pass during the just-completed state legislative session.

But other issues were more contentious, such as how to fund programs that help those mired in poverty and whether eastern Connecticut gets its fair share of the state budget pie, including for Shore Line East train service and affordable housing grants.

“If you look at the budget, most of the money went to the western part of the state to communities that are not distressed,” state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague.

As co-chair of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee she complained that Gov. Ned Lamont’s chief of staff had largely taken over the budget-setting reins.

“They deliberately … take things away from eastern Connecticut over and over and over again. That’s why elected leaders should be doing the budget,” she said.

Osten said she has sympathy for many of the programs that the Community Foundation has proposed, including the child tax credit, paid leave, healthy school meals and an expansion of just-cause eviction laws to protect those threatened with unjust removal from their homes.

But she suggested that some of her fellow panelists, representing the Partnership for Strong Communities, Connecticut Voices for Children and the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, needed to agree to incremental changes rather than insist on immediate and complete reforms, and they should support the eastern part of the state, which has some of the most impoverished areas in Connecticut.

Read on

Share the Post:

Related Posts