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Monday, December 03, 2012

Comptroller Raises Deficit Estimate by $50 Million

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By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

After taking its first steps last week out of a growing fiscal pit, state government slid backward today as state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo identified another $50 million in red ink in the current budget that he largely attributed to the rate of Medicaid spending.

“Medicaid—the largest single gross appropriation line-item in the budget—is significantly above the budget target,” Lembo said.

The comptroller officially certified a $415 million deficit, though he acknowledged that the actual shortfall is probably closer to $290 million. Because of a technicality in state budgeting rules, Lembo’s office could not count the emergency budget cuts ordered last Wednesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in its latest report. Those savings will be reflected in future assessments.

As expected, Lembo’s report also officially triggers the statutory requirement that Malloy submit a deficit-mitigation plan to the General Assembly—a development the administration conceded several weeks ago was unavoidable.

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Posted 12/03 at 06:11 PM

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