Senator Boucher Supports Proposed Legislation To Expand General Assembly’s Economic Forecasting Efforts

March 20, 2009

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) recently called on the Appropriations Committee to support proposed legislation that would expand the role of the General Assembly’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) in projecting the long-term fiscal impact of state government spending and taxing.

Senator Boucher submitted testimony to the committee in support of Senate Bill 49, An Act Concerning An Annual Summary Of The Long-Term Fiscal Condition Of The State.

“In light of our state’s current economic situation, new policies must be implemented to better educate and inform our state legislators in an effort to craft better economic policy which recreates an environment where businesses can grow and families can prosper. This report would give a three-year look back on Connecticut’s fiscal climate and a five year forward looking view of the state’s economic trends and prospects. This information is critical as we face a severe budget gap in each of the next three years. The General Assembly must expand its analysis and vision to comprehend where Connecticut has been and where it is going, both economically and on a budgetary basis,” said Senator Boucher, a member of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee.

Senator Boucher noted that both the state’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and OFA currently submit budgetary information each year to the Finance, Revenue & Bonding and Appropriations committees. Under SB 49, more information would be made available to the entire General Assembly.

Senator Boucher said the proposed legislation would require OFA to submit annual reports that include: a summary of the state’s financial climate; information on state expenditures and revenues over the previous three fiscal years; projected expenditures and revenues for the upcoming fiscal years; information regarding specific tax and economic trends in the state and region; data on the largest cost drivers within the state budget; and growth of long-term state debt, including bonding and unfunded pensions.

“Passing this bill would provide the General Assembly with a valuable tool for developing future legislation and state policies for revitalizing Connecticut’s economy,” said Senator Boucher.

The primary sponsor of the proposed legislation is Senator L. Scott Frantz (R-36).