Connecticut Republicans went ballistic last week when it was reported that the state is on track for a budget deficit up to $100 million this fiscal year. Senate Minority Leader Len Fassano and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides were among those accusing Malloy of painting a rosy fiscal during the campaign only to have a deficit reported shortly after. But the fact is that Malloy is doing exactly what he said he would do–take action to ensure there is no deficit and no state tax increase at the end of the budget year.
Outgoing House Minority Leader Larry Cafero told the Hartford Courant,”Now we have to pay the price,” he said. “The governor recognizes that the election’s over … not more than a week in, it’s like, ‘Forget what I said on the campaign trail.’ Um, Wrong.
Malloy last week ordered emergency spending cuts, a hiring freeze and a cap on overtime. Budget director Ben Barnes insisted these and other measures would head off any deficit and that there would be no tax increase.
What Malloy promised during the campaign was there would be no deficit and no tax increase this fiscal year. He never said there wouldn’t be a projected deficit requiring action. He simply said he would take such action so there would be no shortfall and no tax hike.
The governor has several courses of action at his disposal. The aforementioned spending cuts and hiring freeze and are two. Another effective measure is his rescission authority. He can five percent cuts to any budget item except local aid. All these moves combined are designed to take care of the projected deficit which the nonpartisan legislative budget office pegs at $89.1 million and the governor’s budget office puts at $99.5 million.
Republican Tom Foley repeatedly said during the campaign that Malloy would have to raise taxes to cover an impending deficit. Until that happens, the loyal oppositions should zip it. Malloy is doing what he said he would do.