During his first press conference in his new Capitol office Gov. Dannel Malloy made one thing clear: he’s going by Dannel, not Dan.
“I like the name that my mother gave me,” Malloy said Thursday as he entertained questions from the media.
So when he was ordering his new business cards “I insisted that we go back to my formal name as opposed to Dan,” Malloy said.
As for the red leather chair embossed with his name in gold Malloy said he needs a chair, but didn’t have anything to do with ordering it.
With a little sleep Thursday, Malloy said he was ready to get to work. However, he didn’t have many more specifics about how he will tackle the largest budget deficit in state history than he did Wednesday when he addressed a joint session of the General Assembly.
“Everything’s on the table. Everyone’s invited to the table. We’re starting those discussions,” Malloy said. “I can’t tell you what the budget I’ll release on February 16 looks like…because it’s a work in progress.”
Malloy spent four hours working on the budget Monday.
“You can’t raise taxes $3.5 billion, nor is there $3.5 billion to cut out of this budget so it’s going to be some combination thereof,” Malloy said Thursday.
Last year the legislature and former Gov. M. Jodi Rell agreed to borrow close to $1 billion to cover a large part of the anticipated deficit. While the borrowing has decreased to $650 million, Malloy said he would do everything he could to avoid those types of situations.
Malloy said he believes in borrowing to cover capital expenses, such as roads and bridges, but opposes borrowing for operating expenses.
“I think when you can borrow and the markets support that borrowing for capital expenditures that’s appropriate,” Malloy said. “Would I borrow money to continue our operating expenses? It would be right down there at the very bottom of things I would want to do.”
But he warned “I can’t take it completely off the table.”
Transitioning to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles will exacerbate what the state’s financial picture looks like because all the debt has to be included in the accounting.
Malloy admitted in moving to GAAP, “I can’t pay off all of the state’s debt tomorrow.” “So how we accommodate moving to that system as rapidly as reasonably possible is what we’re going to be working on between now and Feb. 16,” he added.
As for last year’s budget Malloy was critical of his Democratic colleagues in the legislature for underestimating the magnitude of the economic recession.
“Building a budget this past year on the expectation that things were getting better when they weren’t was a mistake,” Malloy said. “That was a failure.”
Sen. President Donald Williams said Thursday evening at a taping of The Real Story that the statement was fair. He said during the previous economic downturns of 1991 and 2001 the economy rebounded over a two year period, but that didn’t happen this time.
“This recession was the worst of our lifetime,” Williams said.
Malloy said folks may have had the best of intentions, but they sugarcoated the situation.
“You all know I’m not sugarcoating anything. I think it was a mistake to sugarcoat,” he said.