With each day, the state’s budget situation seems to become more alarming and solutions are further out of reach - though many have suggestions on how to fix the situation, from cutting services to increasing taxes on corporations.
And almost everyone, whether as state employees, users of state services or, like us, simply concerned neighbors see segments of state operations that we’d like to protect from the budget axe.
We, for example, were particularly alarmed to hear that Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian is warning that campuses may close if the system’s budget is cut to the degree currently proposed. Ojakian said Wednesday that recently revised budget proposals from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle include an additional $5.4 million cut to the state universities and $19 million to the community colleges. Malloy and legislative leaders, who began budget talks Wednesday, updated their budget proposals to accommodate a larger-than-expected deficit for the next fiscal year. It has grown from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion. Already on the table was a plan to save money by consolidating “back office” tasks at the colleges. Now, Ojakian is saying that, before closing campuses, CSCU may have to eliminate certain student services and make significant workforce reductions.
Our obvious fear is that these cuts would hurt Central Connecticut State University and Tunxis Community College, both so important to our communities. But we recognize that every cut, including layoffs, privatization of social services and reductions in municipal aid will hurt someone.
If you’re one of those affected - and that includes most of us - now’s the time to let lawmakers know where you stand and whether you’d be willing to pay a little more to protect the services that are important to you.