Top stories of 2009: The budget crisis

In theory, Connecticut has a part-time legislature. In 2009 it didn't work out that way, as lawmakers and Gov. M. Jodi Rell battled through the spring and summer over how to close a two-year deficit totaling more than $8.5 billion.

After months of haggling, Rell relented at the beginning of September, allowing the $37.6 billion budget to become law without her signature. The compromise hiked income taxes and state fees, and also included more than $2 billion in borrowing through the end of fiscal 2011.

Months later, the two-year pact is nearly $500 million out of balance, and the Democratic leadership had called members into a special session to stem the problems with a package of fee increases and further cuts.

More trouble looms: With the expiration of federal stimulus funds that have helped the state avoid cuts to education and health care programs, and without this year's borrowed funds, the "structural" deficit awaiting Connecticut in 2012 could top $3 billion. Solving that problem is the job the legislature will begin to tackle in the regular session in February.

- Ted Mann


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