Deeper Look

Recent Posts

Change is coming for nonprofit human service providers, but will it make or break them?

It is a time of reckoning for Connecticut’s private, nonprofit social services. After two decades of flat or reduced funding from its chief client — state government — community-based agencies are struggling to retain both their programs and the low-paid staff who deliver care for thousands of poor, disabled and mentally-ill adults and children. Continue Reading →

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Boughton, Stefanowski, have lots of confidence, few details on plans to phase out income tax

GOP gubernatorial contenders Mark Boughton and Bob Stefanowski say they would phase out the state income tax. But their rivals say those claims are false given that Connecticut faces huge projected deficits, skyrocketing pension costs and a controversial benefits contract that runs for nine more years. Continue Reading →

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Despite progress, HIV racial divide persists

By the time Arthur Harris turned 17, he had already endured a childhood of grinding poverty in Hartford’s North End, the death of his mother, and the rejection of a community that viewed homosexuality as a sin. It should have come as no surprise to anyone, then, that he went searching for love and acceptance wherever he could find it — a search that led him to contract HIV before he was 18. The virus, which can lead to AIDS if untreated, disproportionately affects African-Americans all over the country, including in Connecticut. Continue Reading →

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More ER docs turning to non-opioids to fight overdose epidemic

Emergency department physicians across the state are using more non-opioid treatments for conditions that historically have required powerful opioids for pain management, as they try to play a lead role in the overdose epidemic that kills on average 115 Americans every day. This change, coupled with other efforts, has resulted in a significant decrease in opioids ordered at emergency departments in at least two hospitals, Norwalk and Middlesex, from 2016 to 2017. Continue Reading →

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How safe are CT students at school?

While much of the focus – and funding – has been directed at protecting students from another active shooter, data on Connecticut’s public schools show no decline in a number of much more common safety issues schools face, such as fights and other physical confrontations. That lack of progress has fueled a debate over whether the state’s push to reduce student suspensions and expulsions – and instead provide students with supports so they can stay in school – actually is working to make schools safer. Continue Reading →

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Dwindling oversight heightens concern over medical, mental health care for inmates

The recent birth of a baby in an inmate’s cell – as well as large budget cuts, a lack of outside oversight, and a history of complaints – have fueled concerns among some legislators and civil rights groups about the quality of medical and mental health care being provided to Connecticut’s inmates, most of whom eventually will be released. Continue Reading →

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School choice lottery a mystery for parents as desegregation efforts stall

The confusion surrounding who wins the lottery – or doesn’t – has fueled displeasure and distrust among many Hartford residents concerned that the vast network of magnet schools has created a two-tiered education system where thousands of struggling city students are stuck in underperforming neighborhood schools. Continue Reading →

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Amid fiscal perils, will the state embrace regionalism?

Facing years of projected state budget deficits, could a move toward metropolitan regions help save money and spur economic development, as advocates claim? What would a major step look like? And could any effort succeed against Connecticut’s long devotion to localism. First of three articles. Continue Reading →

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MGM spends $3.8M lobbying in Hartford, but wins in Washington

MGM Resorts International spent $3.8 million on lobbying in Connecticut last year, more than three times any other interest group, in a vain attempt to stop the General Assembly from authorizing its tribal competitors to build a casino in competition with MGM Springfield. But MGM had another card to play — a friendly relationship with the Trump administration and its Interior secretary, Ryan Zinke. Continue Reading →

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CT’s clean energy edge: Going, going . . . or coming back?

Connecticut, once a national leader in clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency, has slipped behind many other states, including its neighbors. Most of the finger-pointing is at the state’s budget problems and questionable choices by the legislature. But the state may have started to lose its energy edge before then. The question is, can it get it back? Continue Reading →

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Pressing question for CT: A state tax break for private school tuition?

The federal tax overhaul may have triggered an automatic state tax break that would allow parents to avoid paying state taxes on some of the money they put aside to send their children to private K-12 schools. Forces already are lining up to back or resist a change. Continue Reading →

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Here’s how Massachusetts helped one troubled school district improve

In Lawrence, a once-booming mill town that Boston Magazine labeled the “City of the Damned” five years ago, schools have shown remarkable improvement since the state intervened in 2011. Last of three stories in a special report. Continue Reading →

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Massachusetts spends less per poor student than we do and gets better results

In both states spending on education has increased greatly over the last 25 years – with one key difference: Massachusetts tied increased state aid to ambitious reforms it credits with spurring remarkable advances in student achievement. Connecticut relied more heavily on local educators to use increased state aid to improve things. Second of three stories in a special report. Continue Reading →

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