OFA Finds Malloy Budget Out of Balance

March 24, 2014

Hartford, CT – Last week, the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) released on their website a report on the Governor’s Recommended FY2015 budget and found it in deficit by $69.4 million.

State Senate Republican Leader John McKinney and State House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr. (R-Norwalk) today said that the governor deliberately ignored warnings last fall from the State Comptroller and the Education Department and shortchanged retirees’ healthcare and magnet school line items.

Had the governor honestly budgeted for those expenses, the adjustments he presented on Feb. 5 would have been in deficit and over the constitutional spending cap.

“It is clear now that the governor willfully disregarded what people in his own administration presented to him in their budget requests last October and November, months before he put out his budget,’’ Cafero said. “We know now the budget was out of whack the moment he dropped it and exceeded the spending cap.’’

  • The State Comptroller on Oct. 12 requested $51.6 million more to cover state retirees’ health insurance, a fixed cost that could not be adjusted, according to documents provided by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. The governor’s budget estimates less than 300 retirements in the Department of Corrections when more than 800 employees are eligible to retire. Malloy ignored the request.
  • On Nov. 13, nearly three months before Malloy presented his budget, the state Department of Education requested $33.6 million more in funding for its magnet school account. Malloy rejected the request and actually cut magnet schools by $1 million in his plan. That account is now short $18.8 million, according to OFA.

“The governor had a fiduciary responsibility to present the legislature and the people of Connecticut with a balanced budget and he failed to meet that responsibility. What’s worse is that the omitted expenditures look intentional,” McKinney said. “How else can OPM Secretary Barnes and Governor Malloy explain shortchanging two areas of their budget they said were priorities? Governor Malloy said the state will fully fund state employee retirement and benefit costs and yet he failed to adequately account for those costs in his budget. He wants to be known as the ‘education governor’ and yet he failed to fully fund magnet schools. Governor Malloy is too smart not to account for expenditure needs that his department heads made him aware of in advance of his state of the state address. He owes taxpayers an explanation.”

Here is what Gov. Malloy had to say when he delivered his state of the state speech on Feb. 5:

“The adjustments I submit to you today follow some simple principles we’ve put in place together…First we have to live within our means. Let’s not spend one penny more than the previously-adopted General Fund Budget.’’

Cafero said, “Those words ring hollow today.”

The Republican Leaders also pointed out that subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee have recommended an additional $60 million in spending for FY2015, meaning the governor and the legislature have a $130 million hole to plug in their current proposals.

McKinney said, “Connecticut lost 10,000 jobs in January, our economy is still hurting, and there are less than two months remaining in the legislative session. We need our governor and the majority party to get serious about passing an honest budget and helping to turn our economy around.”