Fasano, Kane Slam Governor’s Hesitation on Closing Budget Deficit

April 1, 2015

Hartford Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and Senator Rob Kane (R-Watertown) released the following statement today regarding Comptroller Lembo’s latest deficit projection for Fiscal Year 2015 of $172.8 million and the Comptroller’s request for the Governor to put forward a deficit mitigation plan. The governor also released $13.7 million in rescissions today, with a statement from his budget director Ben Barnes advising that, “the April tax receipts will determine whether further action is needed.”

“Republicans have been saying the legislature needs to get involved every single month since November,” said Sen. Fasano. “We shouldn’t be waiting to reach that ‘magical’ 1% before taking action. But now that others are realizing the severity of our budget shortfalls, it is too late to make meaningful changes. The governor dragged his feet and we lost the time we needed to create an effective, bipartisan solution. We wanted to take action early, because a dollar saved today is two dollars tomorrow and three dollars the next day. But too many days have gone by with no dollars saved.

“Governor Malloy’s newly announced rescissions of $13.7 million show that the governor has run out of options. I fear the budget reserve fund is now the only way to close this shortfall. This is what happens when you have a governor who is trying to raise his national profile instead of focusing on the issues here at home. Governor Malloy’s hesitation has led to devastation,” said Fasano.

“Governor Malloy has waited too long and the well has run dry. On top of repeated warnings from Republicans, Gov. Malloy has been warned about our fiscal problems by our Democrat Treasurer, by our non-partisan budget office, and now by our Democrat Comptroller,” Sen. Kane said. “Each time, he says he’s right and everyone else is wrong. I’m sorry, but three strikes and you’re out of touch with your own state’s finances. We already endured record tax hikes under Gov. Malloy. In the coming weeks, taxpayers better hold on tight to their wallets and call the governor and their state legislators. They are going to ask you to pay more, and they think you aren’t paying attention. Are you?”

Fasano and Kane also pointed out that an additional shortfall in the budget highlighted by Comptroller Lembo actually pushes the deficit over 1% of the state budget.

“Based on the Comptroller’s letter reporting a cash shortfall in the retiree health insurance fiduciary fund of $14.3 million, which he recommends be addressed before the end of the fiscal year, the deficit actually comes in at $187.1 million, which should automatically trigger legislative involvement,” Kane added.