December 8, 2009
LATINO LAWMAKERS UPSET OVER GOV'S PROPOSED CUTS
by Christine Stuart
The nurses aren't the only ones upset about Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell's proposed budget cuts. A group of Latino legislators also expressed their disappointment Tuesday over what they say is a 25 percent budget cut to nonprofits that serve the Hispanic community.
Rep. Andres Ayala, D-Bridgeport, said the community nonprofits don't get a huge portion of the budget in the first place, and to cut them an additional 25 percent is devastating.
The 25 percent cut is about the equivalent of about $1 million, Ayala said.
Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, said maybe Rell's goal is to close all the Latino agencies. She said there has to be a better approach to balancing the state budget.
George Cruz, executive director of the San Juan Center in Hartford, said these cuts will put a lot kids on the street. The center offers youth programs including boxing and educational activities.
"We try to save lives," Cruz said. "How many lives is she going to stop us from saving?"
Majority Leader Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield, said Democratic leadership in the House agrees these cuts are "completely unthinkable."
"The caucus feels strongly that these are cuts we should not make," Merrill said.
However, it's still unclear if the legislature will return to the Capitol Dec. 15 with a counter proposal.
The House Democratic caucus will gather on Dec. 14 to discuss whether to return and address the budget deficit.
Meanwhile, the legislature's Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday, Dec. 9, to talk about Rell's proposal and its $337 million in cuts.