Photo by WTIC's Will Purcell

Pro-Growth Investment Budget Outlined During Press Conference at Legislative Offices

February 11, 2019 - 4:58 pm

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC) - State workers, union leaders and community members gathered at the State Legislative Offices for an "Alternatives to Austerity" budget press conference.

Monday's press conference is ahead of Governor Ned Lamont's budget address scheduled later this month.  Three 'frontline' workers spoke at the event, sharing their personal stories in the context of the state budget.  Overall, speakers at the press conference urged Governor Lamont to invest in public services and steer away from austerity budgets that have been 'devastating' for Connecticut's working families.

Mary Yordon, a teacher in Norwalk; Sotonye Otunba-Payne, a court reporter; and Kara Phillips, a supervising nurse in the Department of Corrections each spoke on their experiences.  This included an insight into education funding and retirement security, outsourcing/privatization and under staffing and its effects on mandatory overtime.

Miles Rapoport, a Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at Harvard, also spoke and laid out a vision for a pro-growth, investment economy.  Rapoport is a former State Representative of Connecticut and also served as Connecticut's Secretary of the State.  The vision, as described by Rapoport, stresses how the state can help resolve ongoing budget deficits while addressing income and wealth inequality.  

"The (wealthiest) One Percent make 37 times the average rate of pay of everyone else in the state," said Rapoport.  "Over the last number of years the incomes of the One Percent have gone up 22 percent in Connecticut, while the incomes of everyone else have gone down by approximately two percent"

Rapoport added this full evaluation of the budget, including income tax and tax expenditures, will not be easy, but he believes Governor Lamont and the Legislation are committed to investing in education, working families and the judicial system.

Sponsoring unions and organizations of the press conference included the Connecticut AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 4, AFT Connecticut, SEIU CT State Council, SEIU Local 1199NE, CEUI, Connecticut Education Association, D.U.E. Justice coalition and Working Families.