The state’s 2015 budget deficit dropped $13.2 million since November, but it hasn’t been completely eliminated, according to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo.
On Friday, Lembo said the state is poised to end the fiscal year in June with a $31.6 million deficit. In order, to completely eliminate the deficit he said the downward spending growth trend must continue because revenues aren’t likely to improve.
Lembo pointed out that his projections continue to be based on the November consensus revenue estimates, which showed revenue lagging by nearly $60 million. New estimates will be completed in mid-January, but “current revenue collections do not indicate a positive change to the consensus projections,” he wrote in his monthly letter to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“Total General Fund revenue for Fiscal Year 2015 is forecast to fall $59.3 million short of initial budget projections. The largest single revenue reduction of $61.2 million is within the federal grants category,” Lembo wrote. “Approximately $25 million of the total reduction was due to issues related to the deferral of Medicaid revenue attributable to the expansion population covered under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”
Lembo, again, expressed concern about the lack of federal reimbursement for the Medicaid program. There are also shortfalls from delays of federal waivers sought by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and from delayed implementation of adoptive and foster care initiatives.
“As I stated last month, it is imperative that agencies administering federal grant programs provide timely reporting of potential federal claim shortfalls. The ability to manage the budget is compromised by delayed reporting as was evident in last month’s downward federal receipts adjustment,” Lembo wrote.
On the spending side, Lembo pointed out that it has decreased.
Statewide spending that was initially trending 3 percent above the budget target has been significantly reduced – and now trending below the original budget, Lembo said in a press release. The current projections anticipate that net spending will close the year approximately $25 million below the original appropriated level.
Malloy’s Office of Policy and Management also projected a $31.6 million deficit in December .
Both state budget projections include the $54.7 million in rescissions Malloy unilaterally implemented in November.