A Press Release from the Office of Policy and Management
The Office of Policy and Management (OPM) yesterday released a list of $170 million in rescissions from state agencies in an effort to keep the state budget in balance. That dollar figure is within the statutory authority the Governor has to rescind up to 5 percent of any line item and 3 percent of any fund without seeking legislative changes to the state budget.
The rescissions are in response to a budgetary shortfall for the current fiscal year that is currently estimated at $365 million. The rescissions for Executive Branch agencies, which the Governor makes, total $161,694,693. Legislative leaders have agreed to $3 million and the Judicial Branch agreed to $5.75 million in rescissions.
“There is no one reason for the projected shortfall,” said OPM Secretary Ben Barnes. “The sluggish national economy is part of the equation. Revenue hasn’t recovered as it has in the past when Connecticut was working to climb out of a recession. The demand for services, particularly Medicaid, remains higher than expected. But we have faced larger challenges than this, and done so responsibly. Nothing on that front has changed.”
Secretary Barnes also pointed out that had the economic recovery been similar to the 2003 recovery, revenue from Income and Sales taxes would be $725 million higher. Several other states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, have similar shortfalls.
“Many of these cuts are very difficult to make, especially now when so many residents continue to struggle in a tough economy,” Barnes continues. “But as painful as they are, cuts are necessary to keep this year’s budget in balance. State government needs to live within its means.”
“And we should all remember that as difficult as some of these reductions are to make now, there are more, even tougher choices ahead.”
Barnes then noted that a legislative proposal on deficit mitigation is forthcoming in December. “We are working on a Deficit Mitigation Plan that will completely erase the projected deficit. We hope to work with legislative leaders of both parties on a package that responsibly manages our state’s financial challenges.”