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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Malloy’s Budget Chief Confirms $365M Deficit

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By Keith M. Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Becker

This year’s state budget is $365 million in the red, nearly double the level needed to compel Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to prepare a deficit-mitigation plan, according to written testimony from Malloy’s budget chief.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes also confirmed in his written testimony filed this afternoon with the legislature’s Appropriations Committee that huge cost-overruns in the state’s Medicaid program, coupled with declining revenues, are driving the shortfall.

“All told, these changes result in a projected deficit of $365 million” in the current fiscal year, wrote Barnes, whose next official budget estimates are due to Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo Nov. 20. “Assuming they are certified by the comptroller on Dec. 1, (they) will require that the governor submit a deficit-mitigation plan to the General Assembly before the end of the calendar year.”

Whenever the comptroller certifies a deficit larger than 1 percent of the general fund, state law requires the governor to submit a plan to lower the deficit to lawmakers. In this year’s $20.54 billion total budget, the general fund—which covers most operating expenses—totals $19.14 billion, putting the 1 percent threshold at $191.4 million.

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Posted 11/14 at 06:39 PM

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