Budget Surplus Falls Short of Governor’s Projection-Deficits Looming

July 10, 2014

On June 30th, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, a Democrat, certified a $33.2 million budget surplus for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 14). This is a ninety percent drop from the original projected surplus of $504 million. In layman’s terms, the governor’s office got it wrong, very wrong—again. Now the taxpayers may have to suffer the consequences.

The comptroller’s report shows just how poorly the current administration managed the state’s finances since the 2011 Malloy Tax Hike. Not only is this razor thin surplus a far cry from the half-a-billion dollars that the governor’s office projected early in the year, but it was manufactured by raiding funds and adding to our debt. Next year, Connecticut will be facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit thanks to these kinds of poor policy decisions. We have such a huge hole to dig out of, it is possible the taxpayers will be asked to bear an even heavier burden in the future.

I voted against the record–setting tax hikes that passed in 2011 and have advocated for the elimination of wasteful government spending. I am vehemently opposed to any new tax increases that only give state government more opportunities to expand and waste money. Connecticut can get its fiscal house back in order by reining in spending and not relying on one-time budget gimmicks. It will take time, but it is possible. Moreover, it has to happen.

Although I did not support any of the gimmicks the state used to supplement its tax haul this year, I feel obligated to explain them. The four largest one-time budget yields are listed below.

1. $578.8 million came from one-time revenue sources such as the tax amnesty program and fund sweeps.
2. $91 million came from a raid on the Special Transportation Fund. This money had been earmarked to maintain roads and fix bridges.
3. $175 million worth of bonds were issued to cover basic operating expenses.
4. $196 million worth of long-term debt payments were deferred to future years.

It should be noted that if the state had not used these gimmicks and other monies to supplement normal taxes, it would have ended FY 14 over $1 billion in the red. As it stands now, Connecticut is facing a $2.8 billion deficit for Fiscal Year 2016, which will begin on July 1, 2015 and ends on June 30, 2016.

This is not how the state should handle its finances. A change in policy can occur, but it must occur soon. Please feel free to contact me with your opinions on this matter.