State Budget Chief: Hospitals Make Finances Sick

Connecticut state budget director Ben Barnes, former financial chief of Bridgeport schools, opens up about what makes the state’s fiscal situation sick: hospitals. Barnes will soon become financial chief of Connecticut state colleges and universities.

“It’s the kind of thing you can say when you are two weeks away from the end of service.”

Acute care hospitals, Barnes said, “have used their virtuous status to somehow strengthen their demand for resources that the state cannot afford.”

He said hospitals are a “group that gets what they want virtually all the time.” He said they are the only group he knows of that is able to dedicate all the taxes they pay “right back to their own bottom line.”

He said if the state loses the lawsuit most of Connecticut’s hospitals have filed against the state, it will cost the state $4 billion. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2016, challenges the taxing structure the state created for the hospitals. It’s still making its way through the court system and no decisions have been made.

… Barnes said the state, sooner or later, has to deal more directly with the fact that more affluent communities such as Greenwich, Weston, Westport need less state funding than poorer communities such as Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.

“We tried to re-stack the deck to put more resources into neediest communities but it was dead on arrival,” Barnes said. “My parting hope is that majority of legislators will look at this issue again. There is enough money but we are currently spending it on people who don’t need it as much.”

More on this here.


One comment

  1. So, one of Connecticut’s “problems” is its excellent hospital system?! The hospitals must be prepared to treat all of the gunshot trauma victims (ECT.) of our distressed cities — the latter of which Mr. Barnes and Dan Malloy failed hugely, per providing the necessary ingredient toward their well-being of jobs and tax-base creation (even as they provided hundreds of $millions to Stamford/the Gold Coast in economic development $ and provided a huge, plan-less $bailout$ for Hartford that will only feed its dysfunction and ensure it’s further economic development deterioration). The hospitals, among our state’s largest employers and an essential element for livability in our cities and suburbs are a “problem” that needs to be taxed, even as many, private, non-profit institutions that undermine the health of our cities and towns (e.g., certain private universities, such as SHU…) are subsidized and pandered to by the state?!…

    Now: As far as “regionalization” of the state for the purpose of the logically-indicated support of the cities and their essential economic/infrastructure/services supportive role of their surrounding suburbs: why not just reactivate County Government (per recognized county boundaries) and derive the indicated benefits of “regionalization” as like the other 48 states of the US?! (Only Connecticut and Rhode Island don’t have strong, county-government systems….). Ben Barnes would “regionalize” along what lines? With his background as Malloy’s budget chief, I find that to be a scary question — especially in regard to the distressed urban areas that it would “serve” (more like, “serve-up” to the burbs, for a cannibalistic feast, and then lump the parameters of urban well-being with “regional” well-being, and call it “progress” — similar to the logic used to calculate Bridgeport’s ECS $…)

    This parting self-congratulations of Barnes for the FAILURES of the Malloy Administration, even as he grasps at straws (hospitals?!) to explain the deterioration of the economic health of the state under the Malloy government, of which he is a crucial element, would be laughable if it weren’t a real situation involving the 3.5 millions lives isolated in the Connecticut Twilight Zone of the Malloy Administration…

    And now, this political/fiscal con-man is going to take charge of the huge bank account of Connecticut’s college and university system where he will have even more bureaucratic cover for his profligate tendencies and incompetence? Shouldn’t Lamont sideline him — such as by putting him in charge of the state Tourism Agency or something?…


Leave a Reply