Connecticut’s Budget Is In The Black After Corrective Action

CT News Junkie, Dec 21, 2015

by Christine Stuart

After taking action on Dec. 8 to reduce this year’s deficit, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office is estimating the state will end the year with a $200,000 surplus.

In a monthly letter to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes said the legislation passed earlier this month made $214.3 million in spending changes and $135.8 million in revenue changes. It also replaced some of the nearly $103 million in rescissions issued in September.

The bill passed by the General Assembly on Dec. 8 hasn’t been transmitted yet to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. But Barnes’ letter assumes Malloy will sign the legislation and adopt the changes. As a result of the revenue changes in the deficit mitigation package, sales and use taxes will go up $109.2 million due mostly to delays in transfers to the Transportation Fund and the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account.

The bill delays the sales tax revenue earmarked for the special transportation fund by two months and the money headed to the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account by four months. New revenue numbers will be released on January 15. On the spending side, spending is projected to be $81.1 million below what’s budgeted after the budget mitigation efforts.

However, there will need to be transfers made during the upcoming legislative session to cover deficiencies in specific accounts, according to Barnes. The Office of the Medical Examiner, Office of Early Childhood, and Public Defender Services Commission are running deficiencies that will have to be corrected.

There has been an increase in the number of autopsies being performed by the Office of the Medical Examiner, increased caseloads at the Office of Early Childhood is creating a $6.2 million deficiency, and public defenders are experiencing a $2.7 million deficiency mostly due to legislation, which places a time limitation on habeas corpus filings. Also the bond sale produced lower than anticipated net bond premiums, which will require the state to find an additional $35 million.

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