State Rep. Toni Walker, the co-chairwoman of the legislature’s powerful appropriations committee, made an impassioned plea to preserve the social services safety net in the face of looming budget cuts.
“We’re in a crisis, my friends,” Walker, D-New Haven, told members of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, who were gathered for a symposium at the legislative office building Friday morning. “I’m being told that people are proposing that we cut $400 million more out of the budget.”
Walker urged those in the audience to contact lawmakers to lobby them against additional cuts.
“I don’t like to use names so I won’t do that, but I will say if you do call legislators, call them from either Wethersfield or Middletown, or Milford or Waterbury because they seem to feel that we spend too much money,” Walker said.
She was alluding to three key Democratic state senators, who are often swing voters on budgetary matters and have publicly expressed skepticism about some aspects of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget plan: Paul Doyle, who represents Middletown and Wethersfield, Gayle Slossberg of Milford and Joan Hartley of Waterbury.
Those senators, Walker said, “forget that non-profits are employment, [that] non-profits are who help connect the community to the government. They forget the fact that many of our kids need education but education isn’t just sitting in a seat. Education is learning how to grow and be normal children.
“So,” Walker concluded, “we need your help. We need your help desperately.”