Millions of dollars more in budget cuts may be needed, governor - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Millions of dollars more in budget cuts may be needed, governor says

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

The governor’s office said the state may see more budget rescissions designed to take aim at a revenue shortfall.

According to projections from Comptroller Kevin Lembo, the state is looking at a $120 million revenue shortfall.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said he wants a bipartisan meeting to discuss the state’s short-term and long-term budget outlook.

“More hard decisions have to be made and I am here to say we should make them together with each party involved,” Malloy said.

Malloy said that with Wall Street on a significant downturn, further tough decisions need to be made. He added while unemployment is down, people are making less money.

“We’ve heard the calls and seen the press releases,” Malloy said. “Now we’ll have an opportunity for all of us to talk about specific, concrete ideas to move Connecticut forward.”

Revenue forecasts show a need for millions more in cuts following last month's rescissions. The last round of cuts could affect hospitals and social services. Democratic leaders are proposing a 2.5 percent cut across the board.

Malloy said he encouraged leaders from both political parties to develop their own realistic and concrete proposals in order to be part of the solution.

"We should have a special session,” House Rep. Brendan Sharkey said. “I had previously not wanted to do one because it had not risen the level of the 1 percent."

When the deficit is one percent of the general fund, the governor must have a mitigation plan, which basically means more cuts.

"Collaboration across branches, politics and agencies ensures that necessary spending cuts are made only after the most thoughtful and transparent process. As I reported earlier this month, spending cuts may be warranted - but the consequences of any cut should be vetted through a collaborative nonpartisan process to ensure that rescissions are carefully designed to solve, rather than create new, economic harm," Lembo said. 

Malloy said the state must use the economic reality of the moment to have a real discussion.

“It’s time for all of us to make tough decisions and make them together,” Malloy said.

Malloy and his office said the Republicans’ plan included labor concessions, which were unrealistic and came short of balancing the budget.

"He’s not calling anybody's bluff. We know this governor,” state Sen. Len Fasano, who is the Republican minority leader, said. “If he felt strongly about something he would stay here. The bottom line is we have always been crystal clear. You want a conversation about numbers. Let’s have a conversation about numbers."

Last month, Malloy announced more than $102 million in budget rescissions. The rescissions affected the Executive Branch agencies and the Judicial Branch.

The governor's unusual gesture to include Republicans also comes when he's losing ground among Connecticut voters. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Malloy's approval rating is at an all-time low.

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