Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget director told the news media Wednesday that the budget numbers end with 2015 and it would be wrong to report that there are deficits in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
However, if the consensus revenues adopted by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and Malloy’s budget office are compared to the spending estimates from legislative analysts, then there will be a $1.29 billion and $1.47 billion deficits awaiting the next General Assembly and governor.
“Spending has only been adopted through 2015,” Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget director, said Wednesday. “We’re going to propose recommendations to adjust the appropriations for 2015. There’s no budget in place for any year after fiscal 2015. There’s no such thing, in my view, as a deficit or a surplus in years in which there is no appropriation in place.”
If that logic is applied to before Malloy took office, it would mean he did not inherit a $3.67 billion deficit.
“Um,” Barnes replied. “Eh. I don’t want to say that.”
“Obviously, I think being a month before the deadline for submitting a budget is a little different than being several years away from submitting a budget,” Barnes said.
When the Malloy administration took office in January 2011 it was tasked with submitting a budget to the General Assembly in the first week of February.
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said that using the Malloy administration’s new accounting method for estimating budgets, the deficit he inherited from former Gov. M. Jodi Rell would have been about $3.2 billion.
Cafero said Malloy is “quick to remind all of us that he inherited a $3.2 billion deficit.” But Cafero pointed to the projected $1.3 billion deficit in 2016 and the $1.8 billion tax increase Malloy signed in his first year. He said add up those numbers and you get to around the same amount of the deficit he inherited.
“The bottom line is the state of Connecticut better off — the age old question — today than it was four years ago? The resounding answer by every fiscal indicator is ‘No’,” Cafero said.