Where Your State Tax Dollar Goes
As Gov. Malloy and the new legislature start the process of sorting out the current state budget mess, here's a look at exactly how each state tax dollar is spent.
Looking over the list, you can see a lot of money is taken right off the top to pay off the state debt (among the highest in the nation at $7,886 per person) as well as to cover benefits for state employees -- almost a quarter of every dollar. After that, social programs and education claim the next biggest slices of the pie (combined, nearly half the budget), and then the remaining "scraps" are used to cover the rest of the state's operations.
Undoubtedly, the areas with the highest percentages will be the ones that state leadership will probably look to cut first. Most likely, there will be calls to make the state work force "more efficient" -- i.e. "smaller," which isn't a surprise. In 2009, Connecticut spent $4.09 billion on state workers' salaries and benefits alone, or about 24 percent of overall expenditures, and that's after postponing much-needed payments to the state employees' underfunded pension funds. Such accounting "tricks" won't be available going forward, especially if the state adopts Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, as Gov. Malloy has repeatedly stated is the plan.
Each budget area is broken down by percentage of the overall budget as well as the actual cost in dollars. All numbers are based on the 2011 $19.01 billion budget.
Debt Service • 11% ($2.1 billion)
Before it can be used on current state operations, 11 cents of each tax dollar goes to repaying funds borrowed in the past for projects like building roads, schools and bridges.
General Government • 2.6% ($507.7 million)
Half a nickel of each dollar goes to run the offices of the governor, secretary of state, lieutenant governor, state treasurer and attorney general, and other constitutional offices. Also funded here are the Office of State Ethics and the departments of Administration Services, Information Technology, Veterans’ Affairs and Public Works.
Legislative • 0.4% ($80.4 million)
Less than half a cent pays for the cost of running the state legislature, including operations and the salaries of legislators and their staffs. Also funded here are special commissions, like those on Aging, Children, the Status of Women and African-American Affairs.
Employee Fringe Benefits • 10.7% ($2.06 billion)
A dime and then some goes to paying for the health-care and dental benefits, insurance programs, vacation time and other perks of the state’s 50,000-strong workforce.
Non-Functional • 2.3% ($451 million)
Another 2 cents plus is set aside for a variety of salary adjustments, workers’ compensation claims and miscellaneous employee-related administrative needs.
Human Services • 26.7% ($5.2 billion)
Over a quarter goes to Human Services, almost all of which ends up with the Department of Social Services to pay for Medicaid ($3.84 billion, or nearly 20 cents) and other social-assistance programs such as food stamps, welfare and the Husky Health program.
Education • 21.1% ($4.1 billion)
A little more than 20 cents is divided between elementary/secondary education, which receives $3.3 billion or 17.3 percent of the overall budget, and higher education, which is allocated $746.5 million (3.9 percent overall) and includes UConn’s main and regional campuses plus the health center, the four schools of the Connecticut State University system and all the regional community and technical colleges.
Regulation & Protection • 2.1% ($402.1 million)
Your 2 cents go to support the departments of Motor Vehicles, Public Safety, Consumer Protection, Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disability, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Also funded here are the departments of Banking, Insurance and Public Utility Control.
Health & Hospitals • 8.9% ($1.7 billion)
Nearly 9 cents are given to the departments of Public Health, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Developmental Services (formerly Mental Retardation, which gets over $1 billion). The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner also is funded here.
Corrections • 7.8% ($1.5 billion)
Eight cents is divided between the Department of Corrections, which runs the state’s 18 correctional facilities, and the Department of Children and Families, which is dedicated to child welfare, behavioral health and juvenile services.
Conservation & Development • 0.7% ($132.9 million)
Less than a single red cent goes to the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Economic and Community Development, as well as the Commission on Culture and Tourism.
Judicial • 2.9% ($559.3 million)
Three cents covers the state’s entire court system, from judges and public defenders to operating courthouses and supporting the jury-selection program.
Transportation • 2.7% ($516.9 million)
A little more than two-and-a-half pennies go to the Department of Transportation, which oversees state port, pier and airport facilities, and to pay for highway and bridge operations and maintenance.