Budgets are values statements. They tell us who we are and what we aspire to be.
In Connecticut, we are facing serious fiscal challenges that can only be solved if we put people first.
It would be irresponsible and dishonest to ignore our state’s budget challenges, but we can’t cut our way to a vibrant economy. Instead, we need to come up with new ways to make our state work for all of us.
We need to attract business to the state to create new, good paying jobs by investing in our public schools and our community colleges. We need to invest in apprenticeship and job training programs. We need to improve our infrastructure. Together, education and infrastructure can lead to a vibrant economy.
But we can’t just look at business—-we need to look at people. People like the teacher looking for supplies and volunteers for her underfunded school. People like the small business owner who can’t make ends meet. People like the working families all across our state who might be taxed out of their homes.
We need to remember these people and the programs that support them. This means fully funding public education, providing adequate aid to our towns and cities, and protecting workers. It means fighting for paid family leave, a $15 minimum wage, and fairer tax laws.
We need to be innovative, we need to understand that, ultimately, there is more at stake than money. Behind every decision, every number in a budget is a human being . . a family.
If we remember that then I believe we can solve our budget challenges and move Connecticut forward.
The writer lives in Hamden and was a candidate for state Senate to represent Ansonia.