Governor M. Jodi Rell announced Tuesday morning that she will be ordering approximately $125 million in budget cuts to offset the projected $150 million budget deficit in fiscal year 2009.
The budget cuts will range between 3 percent and 5 percent across state agencies and commissions. When Democratic leaders in the legislature decided along with Rell to use the two-year budget they passed in 2007, they gave the governor the sole authority to make budget reductions.
“Even with the rescissions I am ordering and the other economy measures I have already put into place such as a hiring freeze, a ban on out-of-state travel paid for with state funds and cuts in state gasoline usage, I expect we will need to find additional savings,” Rell said in a press release. “I will be looking to the General Assembly to work with me down the road to identify other areas where we can reduce expenses to keep our budget in the black.”
Rell will reduce the General Fund by $104.2 million and the Special Transportation Fund by about $19 million. Rescissions to all funds – including the Banking Fund, Insurance Fund and others – net about $125 million.
The statute that gives Rell the authority to make these reductions does not allow her to cut aid to municipalities. “In addition, as a practical matter, the Governor is constrained from cutting appropriations for entitlement programs or pension and health benefits for state employees and retirees – expenditures that comprise much of the budget,” the press release states.