(Updated) Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s budget office predicted Monday that revenue estimates will dip below projections, but will still be high enough to enact a half-percent sales tax cut on Jan. 1.
The most recent revenue estimates, agreed to by Rell’s budget office and the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, will not be used to decide whether Rell must submit a budget mitigation plan to the General Assembly. Those numbers will come from state Comptroller Nancy Wyman on Nov. 1.
Both budget offices agreed Monday that October’s revenues for 2010 and 2011 are an estimated $332.5 million lower than originally anticipated in the budget passed by the General Assembly Sept. 1.
In a press release Rell said Wyman still needs to agree to these numbers under the new budget consensus forecasting law, but since the two offices agreed Wyman is not expected to get involved.
Wyman’s spokesman said Monday afternoon that Wyman doesn’t expect to make any predictions until Nov. 1 when her monthly letter on the budget is due.
Wyman stopped just short of announcing a budget deficit in her Oct. 1 letter.
The numbers have the legislature’s Republican leadership sounding the alarm bells again.
Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said Democrats “ignored” Wyman’s warnings on Oct. 1.
“Now that OPM and OFA agree that the budget is in deficit, Democrats can’t ignore reality any longer. The people of Connecticut need their elected officials to finally lead by making the difficult decisions necessary to reduce the size and cost of state government,” he said in a press release.
Rell is more optimistic than her Republican colleagues and seems to hope the economy will maintain Monday’s budget projections.
“I firmly believe consumers and retailers in Connecticut need – and more importantly, deserve – a break on the sales tax,” Rell said in a press release. “With other taxes and the costs of maintaining a home and family steadily increasing, this is a promise of relief that we cannot afford to break.”
According to Rell’s budget office and the Office of Fiscal Analysis, revenues declined about $168.4 million or 0.97 percent in 2010 and $164.1 million or 0.93 percent in 2011. Both of those estimates are barely below the 1 percent trigger.