Connecticut to expect less revenue in next 2-year budget
HARTFORD (AP) — When Connecticut lawmakers return to the state Capitol in January for the new legislative session, a new report shows they will have less money to spend in the state's main account.
Revenue estimates released this week for the upcoming two-year state budget indicate the general fund will have about $208 million less in fiscal year 2017-18 and about $297 million less in fiscal year 2018-19. The general fund budget typically is about $18 billion. Connecticut operates on two-year budget cycles. The first new fiscal year begins July 1.
The estimates, agreed upon by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget office and the General Assembly's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, were greeted with concern by the legislature's Republican leaders, who are also worried about a shortfall in the current fiscal year. For months they've sought meetings on the state's budget situation.
"Now that elections are over, I hope that all lawmakers will finally be willing to begin that conversation with us," said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, whose caucus won enough seats on Tuesday to create a tie in the now-Democratic controlled Senate. The new session begins in January.
"In the past few weeks not only have we seen this year's deficit grow, we have also seen budget shortfalls in future years grow by over $500 million," he said. "These are problems that we cannot wait to address."
Chris McClure, a spokesman for the Office of Policy and Management, noted that state revenues are actually growing, but slowly.
"This slow growth presents manageable challenges in the current year and more difficulty in developing a balanced budget for the coming biennium," he said, adding that the administration plans to present more details "on these challenges" next week. The administration is due to prevent its annual Fiscal Accountability Report to the state legislature.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, whose Republican caucus also picked up additional seats in Tuesday's election, predicted the new legislative session will be "extremely challenging." She said her members will "keep the governor and the Democrats at their words that Republicans will finally have a hand at shaping the state's finances."