State Comptroller Kevin Lembo is projecting a $7.1 million budget deficit in the current $20 billion fiscal year budget and warning that state revenues may continue to erode.
The Democrat's estimate, released Monday, comes days before the General Assembly opens its regular legislative session.
Lembo says he believes Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration can address the deficit with reduced spending. He warns that revenues may continue to drop given stock market declines and a slowdown of the global economy.
Malloy wants to cut funding to state agencies, restructure pensions and even lay off state employees.
"The broader message is we had a hard time getting out of the recession and that has permanently changed our economy not just in Connecticut but nationally,” Malloy said.
The cuts will hit those who rely on state grants such as public colleges and universities as well as non-profit groups that help people with disabilities.
Malloy may also slash some money given to cities and towns.
Republican legislative leaders stressed Monday that long-term structural changes to the budget are needed to stop the continuing spate of budget deficits in Connecticut. Their suggestions include changes to the state employee benefits.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said the Democrats also seem to be in denial on how bad things really are.
"What’s changed my mind is the inability of the democratic majority to recognize the serious financial plight in the state of Connecticut and to take it seriously has accelerated our problems,” Fasano said.
Republicans said we are buried in debt and are borrowing $3 billion a year.
Despite the cuts, the state still has a budget deficit for the current fiscal year and another one next year.
The new fiscal year beginning July 1 is projected to be about $500 million in deficit.
The governor's State of the State address will be at noon. The entire address will be streamed live on WFSB.com.
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