State policymakers continue to face a moving target, with this fiscal year’s budget deficit increasing as they work to close that gap and get started on the bigger challenge next year.
Next week, lawmakers are expected to be back in session to take up a deficit mitigation package—but probably also to consider a request from the Finance and Appropriations committees to extend their deadlines a week.
Currently, the Connecticut legislature's Appropriations Committee deadline is Thursday, March 31, with the Finance Committee deadline of Friday, April 1.
In order to extend those deadlines, both the House and Senate would have to approve the request by two-thirds votes—which leaders on both sides of the aisle apparently support.
Lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee say they are in the process of identifying millions of dollars in budget cuts, with every state program a potential source for spending reductions.
Gov. Malloy and legislative Democrats and Republicans have offered their plans to reduce the budget deficit, and the governor has already made nearly $70 million in rescissions.
This week, legislative Democrats released a plan that includes $129.7 million in spending reductions, $36.9 million in sweeps from numerous accounts, and $25 million in fund transfers.
If adopted, spending reductions will carry forward to help balance next year’s budget, while sweeps and transfers merely shift spending and won’t help address future deficits.
The governor continues to say that state employee layoffs are necessary and imminent—he said they would have to happen before June 9—but union representatives thus far have not agreed to discuss potential concessions.
The governor’s budget director, Ben Barnes, said the cuts were more than offset by $178 million in revenue shortfalls.
Policymakers also are now looking anxiously to the April 15 tax deadline.
Gov. Malloy said government is getting smaller because it has to adjust to the “new economic reality.”
CBIA continues to urge Connecticut state lawmakers to adopt reforms that can bring state spending under control and make government operate quicker, leaner, smarter, and more efficiently.