Gov. M. Jodi Rell painted a grim picture of Connecticut’s economy Wednesday afternoon at a press conference.
“Income tax, sales tax and casino revenues are all down significantly. I am not talking about slower growth, but about zero growth – and actual diminished revenues,” Rell said speaking in terms of the state budget forecast.
She said her budget office has adjusted its deficit projections to $2.6 billion in 2010 and $3.3 billion in 2011. The General Assembly is expected to convene a special session on Nov. 24 to deal with the $302 million budget deficit the state is currently running in fiscal year 2009. Rell has already made all the cuts she can without legislative approval to the 2009 budget.
“In terms of absolute dollars, the state will have less revenue in both 2010 and 2011 than in 2009. That means we are going to have to cut spending. These will be difficult cuts, cuts that will hurt people and programs, but they must be made,” she said.
When asked by reporters if she will be asking labor unions for concessions or announcing an early retirement plan for state employees next year, Rell simply answered by saying “everything is on the table.”
“We are looking for significant cuts in state spending. I am looking to close this budget deficit with budget cuts,” Rell said, when asked if the state can close the budget gap without tax increases. “Raising taxes in this economy is the worst thing that we can do at any level,” she said when asked hypothetically if she would veto a legislative budget proposal that included a progressive income tax.
“This is going to be a very, very lean biennial budget,” Rell said.
“Connecticut faces a budget crisis, just like many families across the state, and we must work together to solve it,” Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said in an emailed statement Wednesday.
“No party or person has a monopoly on good ideas,” he said. “Gov. Rell asked for the help of Democrats in the legislature today – and she’s got it.”
Click here to read the 103-page Office of Policy and Management state budget report.