Don’t Hold Your Breath: Surplus Is Already Spent
Good news: It appears Connecticut’s state budget for the current fiscal year has grown a small surplus.
At just over the half-way point in the 2017 fiscal year, the Malloy administration recently projected a $23.3 million balance in the state’s bank account.
But neither is it a great comfort, as we await the February 8 unveiling of the Governor’s proposed two-year plan for fiscal 2018 and 2019.
Figuratively speaking, a $23 million budget surplus can evaporate in a blink of an eye. Literally speaking, not much longer…
Guess how many days of government function we get with a $23 million budget surplus?
It turns out that the state spends at a pace that consumes $23 million in just under 10 hours.
Connecticut spends about $57.5 million in a single day—or about $40,000 per minute.
With projected billion-dollar-plus gaps between estimated revenues and expenditures looming ahead, this comes as a timely caution to the General Assembly—reinforcing the fact that Connecticut needs a sustainable budget, based on a predictable design that delivers core government services in a strategic, judicious fashion.
More reasonable and forward planning, driven by structural budget reforms, might get us a budget that has more than 10 hours of breathing room at the end of the year.
Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.
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