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Report Calls Connecticut a 'Sinkhole' State

The state's budget woes continue to be one of the most pressing issues, legislators say.

There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room in the state budget, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis.

The non-partisan OFA projects funding deficiencies of $65.2 million shortfall in the General Fund and $1.3 million in the Transportation Fund.

“The State Agency Deficiencies are indeed troubling, but I think there are a few things to keep in mind here,” said state Rep. James Albis, a Democrat representing East Haven in the 99th House District. 

Albis pointed to a Nov. 15 OFA report projecting a $101.2 million General Fund surplus, which the legislature could use to cover any agency deficiencies. In addition, the estimated $66.5 million deficiency is one-third of one percent (0.35%) of the annual $18.7 billion state budget.

Ben Barnes, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, appreciates the concern but said the deficiencies are small.

“I’m confident we will reverse that and finish the year in balance and under the spending cap,” Barnes said.

Albis also said it’s important to remember the Governor recently indicated he won’t refill 2,300 state positions that have been vacated, as a money-saving measure. Lastly, Albis said agencies are on notice to find ways to save money and make their departments run more efficiently, and are currently in the process of doing so.

None of this is enough to persuade state Sen. Joe Markley, a Republican representing towns in the 16th Senate District, including Cheshire. 

“I'm concerned that we might bump up against the constitutional spending cap if agency expenses continue to run higher than anticipated,” Markley said. “We didn't fix our problems last session -- we papered them over with a mammoth tax increase, but we didn't tackle the overspending which is the real challenge.”

'A SINKHOLE STATE'

The Institute for Truth in Accounting, IFTA, called Connecticut a "Sinkhole" state.

The non-partisan agency said The Nutmeg State is one of five states in the worst financial position in the country. According to IFTA, while Connecticut has $29.4 billion worth of assets, only $10.1 billion are available to pay $63.4 billion of bills as they come due. IFTA also said each taxpayer's financial burden is $41,200.

“It’s a point well taken, and I certainly can’t deny that Connecticut faces some financial challenges,” Barnes said.

However, Barnes said the report doesn't recognize changes made to how Connecticut structures its budget, such as GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Markley wasn’t surprised by IFTA’s report.

"It's an accepted fact that we have the highest debt per capita of any state in the nation. Of all the challenges Connecticut faces today, that might be the most alarming, and discouraging,” Markley said. “We can't keep raising taxes -- our economy can't stand it: we must cut government spending. The sooner we recognize that, and the more seriously we approach it, the better for all of us.”

“Yesterday’s report was one point on a very long line. It’s still too early to draw any conclusions, though I will note that the state budget is still on track to end the fiscal year with a $101 million surplus, according to OFA,” said Lawrence Cook, spokesman for the Senate Democrats.

Don Charles November 26, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Obuma, Michael Brown, or would you rather Noboma, You know who that is, Moochelles husband, the wife of the Socialist Marxist who is wrecking the USA. Cuba here we come. Let's be certain we buy lots of auto parts so we can use them to keep our autos running when we turn into Cuba.
George E. Mulligan November 27, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Democrats & Republican demonizers are often correct about their blog targets. No organization is monolithically BAD, nor GOOD. ANONYMOUS: The only difference between Republicans and Democrats, is that the Democrats "at least pretend to care" about the people "whose lives are ruined by their policies." There aren't any Judeo Christian (nor Catholic, nor Masonic) Governments. They are all secularly materialistic. Generally political parties helped friends & harmed enemies. News to Mr. Brown is that Government is the BIGGEST & MOST CORRUPT of ALL BUSINESSES. Again, N O T monolythically! It is the top of the Pyramid which is as rotten as the head of the Fish. If the JUSTICE / FBI / DEA / SEC / EPA / DOT / & all other agencies, & the THREE BRANCHES of GOVERNMENTS, in Federal, State, & Local levels - did their jobs of unbiased NON POLITICAL oversight then the WORST of the CORPORATE & PRIVATE SECTOR would have been held in check. DEMOcrat or HYPOcrats or DEMONcrats blindly support mandated OBAMAcare, when increasing people live PAYCHECK to PAYCHECK, or UNEMPLOYED or UNDEREMPLOYED, and can not AFFORD over priced (by 300%) Health Insurance or mortgages or utilities/staples. RepubliCAN'TS or RepubliCONNartists Health Care insurance plan can be labeled GOPdon'tCARE. HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT is good for: >Keeping Wages Low >Minimizing Benefits >Increasing Military Recruitment >Stealing Businesses & Homes. - Pharoahs' grave treasures were robbed!
Wedley November 27, 2011 at 01:11 AM
I guess I'll through in my two cents. I have lived in this state all my life... I have watched this state slowly deteriorate from the 70's. If we took Fairfield County out of the picture CT would be as poor as MS. Now that Wall Street has stolen our last vestiges of a lively hood along with Big Insurance, Gov, and Big Business, & Educational institutions we are nothing but an empty shell. This house of cards has been ready to collapse for quite some time. The American Dream is now all about Self-Preservation & Screw thy neighbor. It's a whore's world, whoever can whore the best wins... Just for Starters
Michael Brown November 27, 2011 at 01:34 AM
I'm happy enough to see you contradict your self in the first sentance. Rush Limbaugh is not a philosophy.
Don Charles November 28, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Wedley can't agree with all you say but I will agree on the whores and they are all in Hartford at the state house and in the gov's mansion. and in DC especially on Penn. Ave.

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