On Budget Deficit, Malloy Prefers Lone Wolf Status [CT News Junkie]

January 23, 2015

CT News Junkie

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said if Republican lawmakers have suggestions about where to cut, then they should scribble them on the back of an envelope and hand it to him.
“If they [Republicans] can have a conversation with you about coming to the table, they can have a conversation with you about their ideas,” Malloy told a group of reporters Wednesday.

In the minority, Republicans like Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, has told Malloy they’re willing to help him erase the deficit, which he has limited power to do on his own. Malloy can rescind up to 5 percent of any line item and 3 percent of any fund on his own without seeking legislative approval.

Fasano has said he’s giving Malloy a chance to make more meaningful cuts in areas that won’t impact as many of the state’s constituents by offering to help make spending cuts and better position the state for the future, which offers a much gloomier fiscal forecast.

“I guess when he was talking about how there are no Republican ideas, and no Democratic ideas, and no party has a monopoly on ideas, he was talking about something else,” Fasano said Wednesday.

In his inaugural speech earlier this month, Malloy said, “that no one party or one policy maker holds a monopoly on good ideas.”

But Fasano said that seems to be the opposite of where Malloy currently stands on the offer from Republicans.

The governor tried to downplay Tuesday’s news that the state was facing a $121 million budget deficit this fiscal year.

“We’ll manage this just like we’ve managed other challenges the past,” Malloy said Wednesday after an unrelated press conference.

Malloy, who on the campaign trail remained confident the economy would turn around and the budget numbers would improve, said Wednesday that Connecticut isn’t the only state dealing with a projected deficit in the current fiscal year. He said even traditionally oil rich states like Alaska are facing budget deficits.

In fact, Connecticut’s governor is not even concerned with the current budget deficit, which is less than 1 percent of the state’s $20 billion budget.

“I’m concerned more with the implications for next year’s spending in the budget than I am about how we meet our targets, which we have routinely met every single year,” Malloy said.

That includes depositing more than $500 million in the Rainy Day Fund, he said. However, it remains to be seen just how soon the state will need to use that money with the fiscal storm clouds gathering overhead or whether borrowing will be part of that equation.

Malloy said he anticipates that his budget director will issue rescissions relatively quickly.

“I will remind everybody that we’ve been in this position a couple of times and we’ve ended up with surpluses,” Malloy said.

Last year at around this time Malloy was laying out his plans for how to use the $505 million projected surplus the state was running. That plan included giving taxpayers a $55 rebate check.

However, plans to give about $155 million back to about 2.7 million taxpayers wasscrapped when revenue didn’t keep pace with projections as the April tax deadline approached. At the end of the day the additional revenue ended up being deposited in the Rainy Day Fund.