Paid family medical leave proposals hurt those they’re trying to protect

One key exemption included in a pair of paid family and medical leave proposals provides all the evidence Connecticut lawmakers need to vote against these costly new mandates. Advocates say businesses have “a moral responsibility” to provide the benefit to their employees, yet the public sector is exempted from both bills, with state and local government workers left behind.

Why we should believe Hartford is getting better and stronger

In his third State of the City address, Mayor Luke Bronin described Hartford as “better and stronger” and cited awards won and initiatives championed. While residents, public officials, and pundits debate the extent to which “Hartford Has It,” unprecedented collaboration among Hartford’s community-based organizations, anchor institutions, city government, residents, and community activists is reason for hope. Cooperation in developing compelling grant applications to support new city initiatives is impressive evidence of a collective commitment to improve the health and well-being of all residents, including those most disadvantaged.

Helping people with disabilities live independently saves state dollars

Eugene is 64 years old with a long history of coronary heart disease. He has a tracheotomy to help breathe and spent more than a dozen years in nursing facilities. But after two failed attempts to move out of the facility and into the community, he finally has an apartment of his own and he’s going back to school. His story is marked by both tragedy and successes. But Eugene’s story is also proof that where there is a will to persevere and support to help make it happen, people with disabilities and complex needs can thrive in the community, improve their quality of life and save the state millions in far more expensive care.

Property tax levies are hurting nonprofit organizations and their clients

MARC Community Resources, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing residential and day services to individuals with intellectual, physical, and developmental disabilities throughout Middlesex County, recently received notification of denied tax exemption on several group homes, as well as two-day programs owned and operated in Cromwell. This tax forces community nonprofits like MARC, burdened by years of state budget cuts, to choose between costly litigation and paying taxes on property that is exempt by state law. Either of these options takes critical funding away from essential services for MARC’s program participants.

Connecticut must open pathways of opportunity for all

Last week the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth released a much-anticipated report that provides a business perspective on the causes and suggested responses necessary to cure our state’s economic woes. Overall, we support the report’s clear call for state investment to spur economic growth with a focus on education, workforce development, transportation, regional development, and core city revitalization. However, we fear the compressed time frame within which the Commission worked resulted in inconsistent — and in some cases unsound — recommendations, many of which are grounded in four fundamental errors. First, the vision and goals articulated at the outset of the report upon which the Commission bases its recommendations for “short-term, medium-term and long-term actions that will enable improved competitiveness and higher growth” omit any mention of the toxic impact of existing racial disparities and income and wealth inequity in the state.

Another budget, another (likely) tormented struggle to the finish line.

Much has been said and written about the state of nonprofits in Connecticut and the impact on services being provided to many of our must vulnerable citizens. Nonprofits providing human service exist to partner with government – the one of the people and by the people and for the people– to look out for those most in need, helping government and our society to fulfill one of its most basic obligations. I know we can parse around the edges about what being “in need” means. Some have more restrictive definitions than others, but in the end it’s our collective sense of common humanity that brings most of us together in solidarity and collaboration to be there for folks who, often through no fault of their own, turn to nonprofits for help.

Child Welfare in Connecticut: The DCF revenge machine

The abuse, starvation and near-death of a year-old baby while under the state’s protection put the Connecticut Department of Children and Families under intense scrutiny by the state’s child advocate  and others a year ago — scrutiny that continues today.  The following text is the introduction to a longer and more detailed analysis of the so-called “Baby Dylan” case by Richard Wexler, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.

Veterans must be part of Connecticut’s economic recovery and growth

Connecticut Veterans are smart, highly trained, hard-working, dedicated, and team-oriented leaders who are comfortable in changing and dynamic environments.  Successfully reintegrated Veteran create economic, political, and social capital in our communities.  As we celebrate Veterans Day, let us remember they are national assets and an important part of restoring Connecticut opportunity and launching our great state’s economy on an upward trajectory.

People with intellectual disabilities deserve a chance to build a life

This year’s complicated and difficult process to develop a state budget has inflicted disproportionate injury on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. While the protracted negotiations continue, young graduates from our public schools have been forced to sit at home in state-imposed isolation, as there is no funding for the critical and longstanding Employment and Day Services program. As difficult as this has been, there is some reason for hope.