If you live in Connecticut, prepare to share in the pain of the state’s enormous budget deficits and long-term debt. State government has created the problem, but taxpayers and all residents will bear the burdens of the fiscal crisis. Here are the numbers:

Projected state budget deficit:

  • $3.4 billion (for budget year 2011-2012)

Long-term debt (for state employee healthcare, retirement funds, state borrowing)

  • $60 billion

Those numbers won’t just go away by themselves. Without tough corrective action by state government, what it means is that every individual in the state will owe--on top of their usual tax obligations--an additional:

  • $960 to close the budget gap
  • $16,740 to pay off the long-term debt

If you have a family of four, your tab will be--on top of your usual tax obligations--an additional:

  • $3,385 to close the budget gap
  • $66,965 to pay off the long-term debt

State spending has increased beyond our ability to pay for it. Despite the state’s spending cap, budget increases have continued to speed by Connecticut’s population growth and the rate of inflation

Despite, 9/11, the collapse of the financial services industry, the loss of more than 100,000 jobs in Connecticut and a very slowly moving economy, lawmakers have chosen—so far—to avoid dealing with the budget crisis.

Instead of reducing state spending they have tapped one-time “allowances”—such as using up federal stimulus dollars and all of Connecticut’s Rainy Day Fund—and they have overtapped the state’s credit card.

With a new governor and new legislature, it’s now time to face the facts and restore fiscal responsibility to Connecticut. Otherwise, the bill will come due—for all of us.  -- Pete Gioia

Pete Gioia is a CBIA vice president and economist. He may be reached at pete.gioia@cbia.com.