GOP says there's conflicting reports on state's budget deficit - WFSB 3 Connecticut

GOP says there's conflicting reports on state's budget deficit

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Republicans are demanding answers after conflicting reports on the state's budget deficit. (WFSB FILE photo) Republicans are demanding answers after conflicting reports on the state's budget deficit. (WFSB FILE photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Republicans are demanding answers after conflicting reports on the state's budget deficit.

Two state agencies have conflicting numbers. The GOP also believes the governor is trying to downplay the deficit because of the upcoming election.

Republicans put the governor on the hot seat on Monday because they said they feel they are not getting the real picture on what the real deficit is. At a news conference on Monday afternoon, they called for a hearing.     

"We are seeing a pattern of not being truthful,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said.

The GOP questioned why the state's deficit numbers keep changing.

“The Malloy administration had an obligation to present an accurate assessment of the state’s fiscal health and it provided misleading information. We need to have the Office of Policy & Management (OPM) Secretary come before the legislative oversight committees and explain himself and tell us how and why his numbers conflict with the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis,’’ Klarides said.

On Sept. 6, Gov. Dannel Malloy's office told agency heads there was a $133-million deficit, but 14 days later, told the state comptroller there wasn't a deficit. The GOP said behind closed doors the governor's numbers show a significant shortfall, but on the surface a much rosier picture. 

While the Office of Policy and Management, which is the governor's budget office, put the deficit at $133 million, the office of fiscal analysis, which is a nonpartisan agency, puts it at $78 million, which is a difference of $29 million.

A spokesman for the governor blasted the GOP saying they are trying to "alter the political landscape for their trump-immolated party"

The state comptroller is obligated to confirm what the governor puts out.  Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo could ask for more information, but isn't required to.

"Some of the state’s financial reporting policies have been on the books for 25 years! However, I am always open to an in-depth conversation about how the state prepares its financial reports,” Lembo said in a statement on Monday. 

"There seems to be a deficit that's larger than what was stated,” Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said. “But, there seems to be a slant saying well, it's going to be OK and that's what's reported to the comptroller."

The GOP wants the appropriations and finance, revenue & bonding committees to hold an informational hearing. At this point, the GOP said they don't know what the deficit is. It is not clear if Democrats will go along with that.

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