On June 9, Keith Phaneuf, budget reporter at CT Mirror, came to the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy (CCP) to discuss the CT budget crisis with the Greater Hartford Funder Network as part of their regular meeting.
Phaneuf commented that CT’s deficit is due to the state's failure to save money for what has already been legally promised to residents, such as pensions. A federal bailout is not an option at this time because the federal government does not believe that CT can say it has a budget crisis when its own elected officials are responsible for the decisions that created it. CT’s deficit is so large that it will take at least 10 years to stabilize the budget. Phaneuf framed the budget crisis as CT’s biggest untold story, stressing that many residents are not aware of just how large CT’s deficit is because it has not been reported accurately.
Following Phaneuf’s presentation, members engaged in a robust conversation asking pointed questions, such as: What can we do? and How should we approach the budget moving forward? Phaneuf emphasized that residents should take a more active role on this matter and, insist that their elected officials provide a realistic report on the deficit.
Interested in being proactive, members asked Phaneuf which elected officials should be contacted. Phaneuf indicated that Representative Beth Bye (D: Bloomfield, Burlington, Farmington, West Hartford) and Representative Vincent Candelora (R: Durham, Guilford, North Branford, Wallingford) are two excellent legislators to cultivate relationships with moving forward.
CCP President Maggie Osborn added that the Council is rethinking its approach to public policy & advocacy, and how to engage elected officials for the benefit of its members.
Sincere thanks and expressions of appreciation were extended to Mally Cox-Chapman of the Elizabeth Mitchell Family Foundation and Kate Miller of The Fund for Greater Hartford who have stepped down from their roles as co-chairs of the Network. Dawn Grant of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving was welcomed and recognized as one of the new co-chairs.
Reported by CCP Data/Piblic Policy Intern Brooke Petit