Statewide Coalition Urges Lamont to Craft Budget that Creates a Recovery for All

HARTFORD – On Thursday, the Recovery for All coalition, which is comprised of community, faith and labor organizations, sent a letter to Gov. Lamont urging him to craft a budget that reduces income inequality and ensures that Connecticut’s economic recovery is shared by all.

“Right now, Connecticut residents are hurting,” reads the letter to the Governor. “COVID-19’s pain has been deep and widespread, but it has not been equally felt. People of color have been disproportionately infected and hospitalized. They’ve also had higher rates of job loss. Working class residents across this state were already struggling to make ends meet before the pandemic. Now they battle to keep a roof over their heads, pay their bills and feed their children.”

Recovery for All called on Gov. Lamont to reduce income inequality by progressively redistributing tax burdens, making historic investments in education and workforce development, and building a strong economy where everyone in the state can thrive.

Connecticut Voices for Children, a researched-based advocacy organization, published a report last month that found the poorest families in our state – those making less than $53,000 a year – pay an effective tax rate that is more than triple that of the wealthiest families – those making over $680,000 a year.

“We encourage you to lead by putting the vulnerable first and providing every resident, including essential workers who have toiled on the frontlines to protect and serve our communities, with dignity and certainty that they can enjoy the basic qualities of life their wealthier neighbors take for granted – a living wage, affordable healthcare, affordable housing and high quality preK-12 and higher education,” said the Recovery for All coalition.

While infection rates have started to come down and revenues have improved, the slow economic recovery has mostly benefited the wealthy in the state. In the last week, reports from the Hartford Courant and The Day have shown the depth of food insecurity for many as massive lines for food assistance built up in East Hartford, Norwich, and many other cities and towns across the state.

In a survey, Foodshare found that 70% of the people seeking assistance had never used a food pantry before COVID-19. The same percentage reported that they had to choose between buying food and paying other bills in the past month.

“On behalf of those we represent, we urge you to be bold and remember those who are suffering as you develop your proposed budget,” said the letter to Lamont. “We cannot assume the federal government will save the day… Even if federal government does eventually act, that relief will act as temporary band aids on budget holes. It will not undo the long-term structural challenges we face.”

The coalition also addressed the state’s improved finances, which eliminated the current fiscal year’s deficits but left a $2.5 billion hole over the next two years.

“While we welcome the news of improved state revenue projections, they could easily change direction as the virus continues its post-holiday surge. Deep deficits continue to exist in the outyears. Our state cannot afford to make the same mistakes of austerity we made in the aftermath of the 2009 recession.”

The letter was signed by 29 organizations, including Black Lives Matter 860, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Connecticut AFL-CIO, Unitarian Universalist Society: East, End Hunger Connecticut, SEIU Connecticut State Council, and others. Recovery For All formed last year to bring diverse constituencies together to ensure the Governor and legislature focused on reducing the widening income and wealth gaps, which have only been made worse by the pandemic.

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Click here to see the letter sent by the Recovery for All coalition to Gov. Lamont.