Posted on April 30, 2020 by admin
HARTFORD – Consensus budget figures released today show Connecticut will have to use its record- setting Rainy Day Fund – the lynch pin of the Republican-driven 2017 budget deal – to ward off the disastrous effects of the Corona virus pandemic on state finances over the next 15 months, House Republicans said.
The anticipated budget deficit over the next 15 months is expected to be $2.7 billion, more than the $2.5 billion Rainy Day Fund currently on hand.
“The only good news is that, in hindsight, the Republicans insisted the 2017 budget agreement among Republicans and Democrats which resulted in a robust savings account in the Rainy Day Fund. The consensus revenues show what we all anticipated: that the state’s finances have been decimated as a result of the pandemic,’’ House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and Deputy Leader Vincent Candelora of North Branford said.
Lawmakers were briefed today on the consensus revenue figures that show a $958 million deficit as of June 30, and another $1.89 billion worth of red ink through June 30 of 2021.
The calculations do not include specific times for the reopening of Connecticut’s economy, schools or other public services. Connecticut currently has the second highest percentage of joblessness in its workforce at 21 percent.
Republicans have called into question additional state spending increases, including pay hikes for state employees set to begin July 1 that amount to nearly $200 million.
“In light of everything we know now, and what we may learn in the coming weeks and months, a prudent approach to all facets of state government and spending is warranted. We will continue to work with Gov. Lamont and our Democrat leaders to find solutions. We appreciate all the information that has been forthcoming and every good faith effort to keep channels of communications open,’’ the Republican leaders said.