Connecticut residents have the right to be concerned that Governor Dannel Malloy still has not successfully been able to create an approved budget for the state’s finances.
The issue is a growing concern and some might almost consider it a crisis. Malloy has struggled to propose a proper budget that would be able to chip away at the $2 billion dollar debt the state is currently stuck in.
Frankly, Connecticut’s budget is a mess, despite being one of the richest states in the country. Corporations, including Aetna, are beginning to realize that the state has dug itself into a hole it can’t seem to get out of.
As a result, Aetna announced in June that it would be moving its headquarters to New York City. It will still occupy the current building, for now. But if Malloy can’t find a way to turn around Connecticut’s economy, it is likely the healthcare juggernaut will leave the state entirely.
According to the Hartford Courant, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini wrote to Malloy that he was too “frustrated with the fiscal problems and leadership of our state.” The Courant also reported that Aetna is Hartford’s fourth largest taxpayer.
It is not just businesses that are leaving Connecticut, but people as well. According to The Atlantic, the state’s population has dropped since 2013. Hartford is facing bankruptcy and people do not see opportunity. People are moving to states where the taxes and cost of living is cheaper.
The state is 10 weeks into the new fiscal year and Malloy has been controlling state finances through the power of an executive order.
Due to the absence of a budget, residents that rely on state aid are starting to be affected. Malloy has proposed continuing to cut these assistance programs.
But the greatest downfall from the fragile economic climate may be to education. Malloy has been forced to pull millions of dollars in education funding from several towns across the state. In fact, 85 towns have had their education funding cut altogether.
Let’s not forget about us Central students. CCSU’s tuition has eclipsed the $5,000 mark for a single semester. That’s not taking into account housing, meal plans or textbook expenses. One of the greatest benefits of attending a state school is that it is supposed to be cost effective. But with little to no help from the state, how are we supposed to continue to look at CCSU as an affordable and easy option?
The more affordable and easier option than Connecticut’s four-year universities are often the community colleges. They are becoming less affordable as well. Just five years ago, the annual tuition for community colleges was less than $3,500; now students are being charged over $4,200. This increase in cost results not only in lower enrollment for community colleges but for the state universities as well, considering many students at Central and elsewhere transferred in from a two-year school.
If Connecticut doesn’t get its act together soon, residents are going to continue packing up and moving elsewhere. I have considered it far too often myself.