The Hartford Courant ran an impassioned op-ed piece by Lucie McKinney, widow of late U.S. Congressman Stewart McKinney, today, which is highly critical of the impact of Rell’s budget cuts on supportive housing, which provides housing and services to families and individuals with confronted with complex challenges like homelessness, low income and mental illness, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, etc.
Unless government simply ignores the problem — choosing to step over homeless people sleeping in doorways or relegating them to the shelter of bridge abutments — a government response must cost some money. The choice then is the less expensive option of supportive housing, or the costlier, less effective cycle of shelter-to-prison-to-emergency room. The answer is obvious.
When you consider the lives that could be reborn at less cost in supportive housing, it is very hard to understand why Connecticut is making the other choice
Having had a few interesting familial dinner conversations of my own (will never forget the Shabbat dinner where I told my dad I was supporting Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman; thought Dad would choke on the matzo ball soup), I’m wondering such criticisms go down with Mrs. McKinney’s son, State Senate Republican leader John McKinney, whose April 13th press release entitled “A Responsible State Government Starts with Reduced Spending” said
The facts as we find them are as follows: In February, Gov. M. Jodi Rell presented a balanced budget proposal that made difficult choices without tax increases and without any cuts to education or municipal aid.
Senator McKinney criticized the Democrats for raising taxes as opposed to cutting more spending.
The proposed tax hikes would significantly hurt middle class taxpayers and small businesses… It increases income taxes on individuals earning more than $14,125 and married couples earning more than $25,125. It also raises the highest income tax rate by 59 percent to 7.95 percent.
It’s interesting because Mrs. McKinney is outraged at the cuts to the very poorest and vulnerable members of society yet Senator McKinney while concerned by the effect on the middle class and small businesses, is equally worried about the effect on those in the top bracket. The poor don’t get a mention, except, perhaps for the use of Riverview Psychiatric Hospital as an example of government inefficiency and waste.
Mrs. McKinney ends her piece by observing “Stewart would be ashamed”. Having been a registered Republican back in the McKinney days but as someone who left the party because it no longer seemed like a place where it was possible to be a fiscal conservative and social moderate, I can’t help wondering if her observation is about more than supportive housing.