It is stunning that our state has an ample surplus yet the recently proposed state budget leaves valuable money on the table that could improve the health and well-being of Connecticut families.  

We are told the state spending cap is to blame. Yet the record shows that Connecticut governors and legislatures have circumvented the cap over the past few decades when it has been deemed necessary to meet the needs of our state.  

Our state’s elected leaders must put the people of Connecticut first. Now is the time to step up and use our state surplus to make positive and life-changing investments in people.  

We know that too many state residents are still reeling from the ravages of COVID. We know that Black and brown communities are living in the long shadow of our nation’s legacy of racism. We know that our immigrant neighbors still struggle without health care. 

There is a litany of unmet needs that impact on our health – all of which have been outlined in painstaking detail in public hearings at the Capitol. For years, people have shared human story after story of the need for safe affordable housing, clean air and water, wages that allow people to support their loved ones, equitable educational opportunity, dependable transportation, access to mental health services, affordable childcare, a vibrant democracy, an accountable justice system and more.  

Health justice is so much more than access to a health plan or prescription drugs. It is the opportunity to live a full and fruitful life. 

Connecticut has the money right now to invest in better health and well-being for state residents who are still struggling for basic needs. 

Justice requires a just budget. Let’s make sure the arc of our state budget bends toward justice.  

Lynne Ide is Director of Program and Policy at the Universal Health Care Foundation of CT.