Republicans say error in proposed budget needs to be fixed [WFSB]

February 26, 2015

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WFSB 3 Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Governor Dannel Malloy’s proposed budget is short $60 million, and republicans are now asking for him to fix it.

The Office of Policy and Management reported on Tuesday that a potential discrepancy has resulted in $60 million in budget cuts.

The growth rate that was included in the governor’s proposed budget was 2.96 percent, “which was inadvertently calculated” with data from the fourth calendar quarter of 2008 and ending with the third calendar quarter of 2014.

Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management Ben Barnes said growth rates are supposed to be calculated with data from third quarter to the third quarter.

Barnes said the discrepancy happened when data was pulled from an outside vendor last month.

The new vendor’s reporting system resulted in a one-quarter shift, which was not recognized until the proposed budget had already been prepared and submitted.

This discrepancy will result in lowering the spending cap by about $60 million.

It is unclear where the cuts will be.

Using the revised data, Barnes said the governor’s budget would be below the spending cap by $80 million in fiscal year 2017.

“On behalf of the agency, I personally apologize for this discrepancy, and commit to working with OFA and the legislature to identify the adjustments necessary to ensure compliance with the expenditure cap,” Barnes said.

One week after the governor unveiled his budget, saying it was balanced, an error was found.

Republicans said the budget is missing $60 million and is not balanced, but the governor said last week that it was and was within the spending cap.

“I honestly believe it was an honest mistake,” Republican State Senate Majority Leader Len Fasano said.

He said that while it was honest, it was still a mistake and feels it should be fixed.

“The governor’s obligated to provide to the legislature a balanced budget within the spending cap -and he should fulfill that obligation,” Fasano said.

He sent a letter to the governor saying, “The General Assembly cannot approve a state budget from the governor that exceeds the spending cap unless the governor declares an emergency or the existence of extraordinary circumstance”

Malloy has admitted that this was a mistake, but said it is up to the legislature to identify additional cuts.

“The law says we have to present a balanced budget doesn’t say we have to present a budget that stay within the cap… at this point we will move budget to the legislature and see what their ideas are,” Malloy said.

Between now and the end of the legislative session, the budget could look a lot different and both sides will have to come together to make cuts or raise taxes.