The projected state budget deficit has increased to $224 million for the current fiscal year, according to the latest estimates by the state comptroller.
Democrat Kevin Lembo says the deficit has increased for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, but he warned that changes in federal tax laws will prompt the numbers to change as the year unfolds.
Since the deficit is larger than 1 percent of the state’s general fund, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has already submitted a deficit-mitigation plan that includes about $300 million in budget cuts and tax-increase options for the legislature. The options include closing the Old State House in downtown Hartford, along with reductions in various programs.
So far, the legislature has declined to formally tackle the budget deficit, saying that the deficit numbers are incomplete as the all-important Christmas sales receipts are still being tallied. The latest consensus revenue estimates, crafted under state law by the governor’s budget office and the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office, are not expected until mid-January. Those will provide key projections of the state income tax, sales tax, and other revenues that will provide the linchpin for the second year of the two-year budget.
Lawmakers had been scheduled to be back at the state Capitol for a special session on restoring $54 million for the Medicare Savings Program on Thursday, but an impending snowstorm postponed the session to Friday morning in the state Senate and House of Representatives. The storm could dump 4 to 8 inches of snow on eastern Connecticut, making it difficult for lawmakers to drive to Hartford.
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