Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes is using the authority granted to him as part of the 2017 budget to withhold funding from various state agencies.
One day before the start of the new fiscal year, Barnes announced that he is withholding $130 million, which is about 0.7 percent of general fund spending.
About $36 million will be withheld in personal services, $7.6 million in other expenses, about $3 million in municipal aid, $17.6 million in human services, $31 million in education (including higher education), $6.5 million in grants, approximately $20 million in criminal justice, and $8.2 million in other categories.
The human services were especially hard hit.
“Like everyone else who relies on the state for funding, human service providers understand that the new fiscal reality is grim,” Jeffrey Walter, interim CEO of the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, said. “But continued cuts of this magnitude will dismantle safety net services and endanger the lives and well being of thousands of individuals our members serve. Hardest hit by these latest cuts will be people with substance abuse disorders, mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as adults and youth returning to the community from prison.”
Barnes said they worked in collaboration with the legislative and judicial branches to achieve these savings.
“With timely and realistic plans to achieve these savings that were included in revised budget, we are taking this proactive step to adjust to our new economic reality before the fiscal year begins,” Barnes said.
He said by taking this step before the start of the new fiscal year, the state will ensure its budget is balanced.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo is expected to send a monthly report to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to let him know the state will end the 2016 fiscal year with a deficit that will have to be covered by the Rainy Day Fund.
Earlier this year, Malloy had announced that he would need to eliminate about 2,500 executive branch positions — including about 2,000 layoffs — before the end of the fiscal year in order to close the 2017 projected deficit. Thus far, 749 executive branch layoffs have been announced.
Despite that previously announced 2,500 figure, Gian-Carl Casa, undersecretary for legislative affairs at the Office of Policy and Management, said they aren’t working from a hard number for job eliminations.
“There is no specific target number. We will continue to work with state agencies to achieve necessary savings while providing core services,” Casa said.