Frustrated that the Democratic majority in the General Assembly doesn’t seem willing to take up her latest deficit mitigation plan, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell sent this letter to the Office of Policy and Management asking it what she can do to reduce this year’s budget deficit.
“With no deficit mitigation plan on the horizon from the Legislature, it is up to me to make the difficult choices to find any and all savings in this administration,” Rell said in a press release Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said it would be refreshing if Rell acknowledged the full scope of the deficit.
Looney said her focus on cutting this year’s budget deficit is a “smokescreen.” He concluded that the whole process was made more difficult when Rell closed a $6 billion budget gap, instead of the $8.7 billion budget projected for the biennium by the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Rell’s budget office has since adjusted its budget deficit upward to $7.4 billion over the biennium, but contends the $6 billion budget deficit was an accurate estimate when Rell presented her budget Feb. 4.
“The urgency of this fiscal crisis cannot be overstated.” Rell said Tuesday. “I am deeply concerned that the General Assembly has still not completed its work on a mitigation bill that requires it to identify $220 million in savings from off-budget accounts. While the statutory deadline for that has come and gone, our financial problems have not.”
“My understanding is we’re getting pretty close,” Looney said referring to the $220 million.
(Click here to read our story earlier this week on this issue.)
In her letter to the Office of Policy and Management Tuesday Rell asked it to complete its analysis no later than Thursday, April 16.
“The State of Connecticut is simply running out of cash, and with two months remaining in this fiscal year, we are also running out of time,” Rell said.