“Austere,” “Painful” and Filled With “Drastic Cuts:” Three Ways of Looking at the State Budget

January 29, 2016

Daniela Altimari

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy won’t officially reveal his budget until the legislative session opens next week but on Friday he provided a few hints of what the spending plan might look like.

“It’s an austere budget,” Malloy told reporters shortly after the State Bond Commission met to approve millions in spending on scores of capital projects around Connecticut.

Malloy reiterated a pledge not to raise taxes. He also suggested his proposal will not dip into the state’s roughly $400 million emergency fund to help balance the budget. “I think a rainy day fund should be used for rainy days,” he said. “I don’t think it should be an excuse not to make hard decisions. I don’t believe it should be built into budget assumptions.”

The legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office is projected a budget deficit for the current fiscal year of $72 million. A bigger $552 million shortfall is projected for next year.

“Yeah, it’s painful and it’s going to get worse,” Sen. Scott Frantz said.

Sen. Steve Cassano agreed with Frantz’ grim assessment. “I don’t think there’s going to be tax increases, which means there’s going to be drastic cuts,” he said. “The fact is…the most dependent people have already been cut to the bone, there’s nothing left there to cut…so in order for us to cut, it could be municipalities, boards of education…its not going to be the people programs because there’s nothing left to cut of the people programs.”