Given the extreme uncertainty of Connecticut’s revenue picture state Comptroller Nancy Wyman sent a letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell and legislative leaders Thursday recommending they suspend work on the 2011 budget and focus on balancing this year’s and next year’s budget.
“A budget written now to cover expenditures two years away would be highly speculative at best, and likely would be obsolete long before it is enacted,” Wyman wrote.
While legislative leaders don’t disagree with Wyman they say they are committed to Connecticut’s two-year budget process.
Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said Thursday that since the recession started the state has had trouble getting a hold of its budget forecasts, however, Democratic leadership and Rell are making progress negotiating a two-year budget.
Negotiating a budget for fiscal year 2011 is tough, “but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible,” Donovan said.
Derek Slap, spokesman for Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said Friday that “Don is committed to the two-year budget.”
But Wyman who is a perennial advocate for increased long-term fiscal planning said “the scope of this economic downtown makes it virtually impossible to formulate credible revenue projections for FY 2011.”
“While I appreciate your concern about this matter and share your belief that urgent action is needed to address our fiscal situation, I could not disagree more that the best response would be to relieve legislators of their statutory obligation to develop a balanced budget for both fiscal 2010 and 2011,” Rell wrote in a letter back to Wyman.
Rell said the requirement to budget on a biennial basis was a reform put in place at the time the state adopted an income tax and it is intended to help control state spending.
Wyman argues that postponing work on the 2011 budget will give the legislature time to more accurately assess the savings, reduce the state’s reliance on one-time revenue, give the state time to incorporate any changes in federal stimulus funds, and allow the legislature to do an in-depth analysis of the states tax expenditures.
Wyman does admit statutory changes would need to be made in order to implement her recommendation.