Sen. Kane: CT Govt. Must Confront Its Spending “Addiction” (Waterbury Republican-American)

January 24, 2015

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is ordering state agencies to cut an additional $24.6 million to help close a projected deficit of $120.9 million.

The Malloy administration is hoping to close the rest of the gap through spending restraints, but more cuts may be necessary, said Benjamin Barnes, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.

“We will continue to scrutinize state spending, and if necessary the Governor will take additional steps, or propose additional steps to the legislature, to keep this year’s budget in balance,” he said..

This second rounds of cuts comes two months after Malloy directed executive branch agencies to cut $47.8 million after the governor’s budget office first reported a shortfall in this year’s $19 billion budget.

At that time, Malloy also requested the legislature to reduce $865,000 in spending and the judicial branch to slash $6 million to help bridge the gap because constitutionally he cannot cut their budgets

The administration is requesting the legislature cut another $865,000 and the Judicial Department another $6 million now.

The governor’s budget office reported Tuesday the estimated budget shortfall had increased by $89.3 million from its December estimate of $31.6 million.

The increase resulted from a $39.3 million decline in anticipated revenue and the recognition of a $50 million shortfall in the $5.6 billion Medicaid budget.

Republican leaders are contending the actual deficit is closer to $200 million

They say the latest estimate from the Office of Policy and Management fails to recognize a $35 million hole in retiree health care and a $7 million shortfall in the Department of Correction.

The GOP leaders also say OPM counts on $45 million in questionable revenue receipts.

Senate Minority Leader Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, continued to urge Malloy and Democratic leaders to meet with Republicans now to hammer out a bipartisan plan for balancing this year’s budget.

“The sooner we confront our state’s spending addiction, the better off Connecticut taxpayers will be in the long run. We have got to work together, as Republicans and Democrats, to do what is best for Connecticut,” said Sen. Robert J. Kane, R-Watertown, the ranking Senate Republican on the Appropriations Committee.