Senate President: New Budget Deficit Numbers ‘Cause for Concern but Manageable’

Now dealing with a projected state budget deficit of $161 million, the president of the state Senate says it’s a cause for concern but nothing compared to what the state was facing a year ago or what other states are facing now.

Senate President Don Williams says the numbers keep moving so it’s hard to say what the end result will be. “Last week we heard the number was $44 million [in deficit] so it remains to be seen where we will be at the end of the second year [of the two-year budget],” he said.

Differences in deficit projections still differ substantially. The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) puts the number at $161million. The governor’s budget office put the number at $44 million last week. The governor’s budget office numbers are traditionally more positive to the governor regardless of party.

Williams says relatively speaking, things are not that bad. “The good news is that our budget issues are manageable. There are 29 states currently running deficits totaling more than $44 billion. Just last year we had a $3.3 billion deficit so at least we are not facing those catastrophic situations.”

As far as filling any budget hole that may exist, Gov. Malloy still has the rescission (or cutting) authority granted him by the legislature last year. However, Williams says the governor’s list of items totaling $44 million on chopping block is not a done deal. “Some make sense, some need discussion with the administration.”