August 30, 2017
Dear (legislative leaders):
The people of Connecticut need a final FY 18-19 state budget –especially people who depend on critical services that support the quality of life in all communities. With every day that passes, the pressure on nonprofits that provide these services grows. As this impasse continues, we move closer to the possibility of permanent program reductions, closures, lay-offs, and harm to our communities.
But a quick budget resolution doesn’t mean any budget would be acceptable, it must be one that reflects Connecticut’s values in caring for those who depend on state-funded services. Put simply: funding services for those in need should be a budget priority.
Community nonprofits support people who have behavioral health issues, are hungry, homeless or children in need of protection, developmentally disabled, leaving prison and seeking to become productive members of society, utilize art to heal trauma, and much more. They are necessities for our neighbors, friends and families.
These programs are crucial to the overall well-being and quality of life in our state — and they save taxpayer money. Just three examples of many:
- The average cost for treating a child with asthma is $100 in a school-based health center, compared to $153 at an urgent care office or $1,631 in an emergency room;
- Community nonprofits housed over 1,700 chronically homeless people – who are thus not on the streets, gridlocking shelters or costing ten times the average Medicaid beneficiary; and
- Savings of $200,000 per-person (plus better health outcomes and community integration) for people moved out of the Southbury Training school into community nonprofit homes – a total savings of $ 4 million.
Connecticut has a long bi-partisan history of supporting quality social and human services. Make no mistake: those services, and the jobs of people who provide them, are in more jeopardy with every day that passes without a state budget that provides adequate support.
We know that agreement on a budget is not easy and we thank you for your work. We hope you will agree that caring for those in need must be a budget priority. We urge you to meet daily, if necessary, to reach agreement on a responsible budget, supported by revenue as necessary, that reflects Connecticut’s values.