The state may end the 2011 fiscal year with a small budget surplus of $1.2 million, according to state Comptroller Nancy Wyman, who qualified the projection by pointing out the surplus is misleading because of the state’s accounting procedures.
“The reality is that this small surplus would not even exist if the state reported under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles,” Wyman said. “I look forward to implementing GAAP and finally being able to report the state’s true fiscal health to the people of Connecticut.”
Wyman and Dan Malloy, who will be sworn in as lieutenant governor and governor on Wednesday, have said they would enact GAAP as one of their administration’s first actions.
In her last monthly letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Wyman attributed the small surplus to the state’s slowly improving economy.
“The income tax, sales tax and inheritance tax are significantly outperforming initial budget projections,” Wyman said. “Unfortunately, those gains are being offset by continued high unemployment, a weak housing market and overspending by some state agencies.”
Though the state’s unemployment rate remained at 9 percent, it added 2,500 jobs in November bringing the total job growth for the year up to 10,600. Sales tax receipts also increased in the month by 7.7 percent, the press release said.
But the state continues to suffer from a sluggish housing market, which fell in third quarter of 2010. The projection was also tempered by $253 million in projected state agency deficiencies and some $650 million the state will be borrowing to correct structural budget imbalances.
While Wyman’s last projection as state comptroller reflects a still struggling economy, it paints a slightly brighter picture than her December letter to Rell, in which she predicted the state would round out the year with an $18 million deficit. In that letter Wyman said the deficit would be driven by an increase in the number of people filing unclaimed-property refunds.
Unclaimed-property refunds are payments made through the state Treasurer’s unclaimed-property program, called “The Big List.” The program, which features an Internet-based database of unclaimed property allows people to search by name and has become increasingly popular.
Wyman’s predictions stood in contrast to Rell’s own budget office, which maintained the state would end the fiscal year with a $300,000 surplus.