Fiscal crisis continues

Connecticut seems to be in a constant state of fiscal crisis, and this year is no different than the last five years. The legislature recently filled a $220 million deficit for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30, but a larger one looms for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 estimated to be nearly $1 billion. Last month, Gov. Malloy took steps to help mitigate the deficit by laying off state workers and making budget rescissions primarily in education and social services. The governor's plan to balance the deficit is to lay off 2,000 state employees, cut state aide to municipalities, hospital funding and cutting safety net programs. The Democratic majority is staunchly opposed to cutting aid to cities and towns, and is looking to cut Gov. Malloy's ambitious transportation initiatives as an alternative to his proposed cuts. Since legislators will be returning to their districts after the General Assembly adjourns at midnight on May 4 to campaign for re-election, there seems to be very little desire to raise taxes to deal with the deficit. Republicans have stated that they will not offer an alternative budget because of the majority party's unwillingness to adopt their suggestions in the past, but remain adamant that long term structural cuts need to be made. Malloy has threatened that if a balanced budget is not adopted before they adjourn he will immediately call them back into session. While Republicans and Malloy have not seen eye to eye on much over the past five years, it appears that the governor's budget could garner their support. CEMA is working with legislators and monitoring budget proposals to ensure that the energy industry is not exposed to new fees or taxes that may emerge as policymakers wrestle over where to cut.