News Release: Nonprofit Alliance Calls on Lawmakers to Restore Funding Lost Over Decade of Budget Cuts

NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Patty McQueen
January 30, 2020

Nonprofit Alliance Calls on Lawmakers to Restore Funding Lost Over Decade of Budget Cuts

Properly funded community nonprofits support Connecticut’s economic recovery and stability

(Hartford, CT) –The CT Community Nonprofit Alliance (The Alliance) and people who depend on community-based services today called on the Governor and the General Assembly to enact a five-year program to restore $462 million that community nonprofits across the state have lost to stagnant funding, cuts and mid-year rescissions since 2007.

“Through more than a decade of tough budgets – while the need for services has only increased – nonprofits have had their budgets frozen or reduced ,” Gian Carl Casa, President & CEO of The Alliance, said at a Capitol press conference. “Today, we’re asking that the Governor and the legislature provide us with the means to continue to help half a million people across the state who rely on community nonprofits.”

Community nonprofits include programs that serve people with developmental disabilities, seeking substance abuse and mental health treatment, experiencing homelessness, escaping domestic violence, re-entering the community after incarceration, and more.

Andrea Ferrucci, Executive Director of Mosaic and Chair of the Alliance Board of Directors, said as the regional leader of a national organization, she has seen how need for services has increased in Connecticut while funding has lagged behind.

“This is unacceptable in a wealthy state like ours,” Ferrucci said. “Connecticut can do better, especially with successive budget surpluses and projections of more to come.”

A Fiscal Accountability Report prepared by the Office of Policy and Management in December said that between 2020 and 2024, Connecticut will take in $5.2 billion more in revenue than is needed for expenditures.

Heather Gates, President & CEO of Community Health Resources, one of the largest behavioral health providers in the state, said the need for substance abuse treatment has increased significantly with the opioid crisis, all while funding has lagged. “We’ve done our best to hold the line, but it is simply not possible to provide the same level of services when funding is cut,” Gates said.

Fernando Muniz, CEO of Community Solutions, Inc., added, “Our programs help people in every city and town in this state. My organization helps people re-entering the community from jail learn skills and get jobs. Other community nonprofits help people with disabilities live in the community and are the front lines of the opioid crisis. We put public policy into action. We need to be properly funded.”

The Alliance estimate of funding loss is based on a review of appropriations between 2007 and 2019. Private providers are funded by numerous line items and the Medicaid account. Providers have not seen a substantial funding increase since 2007, except for $50 million appropriated in 2018 for wages in one sector.

Erosion in funding was also calculated by using the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s gross domestic product implicit price deflator index for state and local government services. That index grew from 88.1 to 112.7, a 28 percent increase from 2007 to 2019.

That calculation – minus the $50 million – shows a $462 million loss in buying power over 13 years.

The Alliance is proposing to restore that erosion over five years with a seven percent increase in FY21; five percent in FY22; and three percent in the following three years.

Because Medicaid gets a federal match at 59 percent, The Alliance estimates that $217 million of the funds will come from the federal government and $243 million from state resources. In the first year, the net cost to the state would be $67 million.