Fasano: Comptroller and Legislative Leaders Won’t Admit There’s a Deficit Until After Election

September 1, 2016

Statement on Comptroller Budget Projections

Hartford – Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) released the following statement regarding Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s first projection of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

“Connecticut is already facing a deficit, but the state Comptroller and Democrat legislative leaders won’t admit it until after the November elections. We’ve seen this movie before, and it ends in post-election tax hikes. It will be an exact repeat of what we saw in 2014 and 2015, when legislative leaders failed to acknowledge the existence and then the severity of the state deficit until it was too late. Sure, the comptroller is ready to point out the extremely slow economic growth of our state and allude to budget deficits. But his partisanship prevents him from drawing the proper conclusion that we are going to have a deficit. He fails to do that, so what is the point of his press release? Yet again Republicans are the only ones who seem to recognize that the numbers just don’t add up.

“Connecticut leaders need to admit to the problems that are without a doubt before us now. Personal income tax and sales tax collections are down. This has nothing to do with the stock market and everything to do with people and high paying jobs leaving our state. Even Moody’s Credit Outlook has reported that Connecticut’s underperformance is not caused by the stock market – it’s about underemployment and slow job growth which continues to lag behind the nation. These reductions in revenue collections from the end of fiscal year 2016 will undoubtedly roll out into the current year. On top of that the enacted budget’s huge personal service savings targets are not within reach, the budget failed to include a $51 million payment estimated by OFA needed to fund debt service obligations, and the budget assumes that an additional $57 million in savings will naturally occur through the fiscal year. All of these together create a hole in the budget. Democrat leaders in Connecticut need to admit that we are facing a deficit now so that we can start to work together to close these shortfalls. The longer they wait to admit the truth, the worse the problem will become.”

“I stand ready to work with Governor Malloy and Democrat legislative leaders to start now to fix the structural problems with our state budget so that we can avoid the never ending cycle of tax hikes.”