Falling tax collections have widened Connecticut's current year budget deficit to nearly $1 billion, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said yesterday. The announcement came as the state prepared for institutional pricing today of a $424.2 million transportation bond refunding following a two-day retail order period.

"The economic tempest that has already ravaged so much of the nation has now made landfall in Connecticut with all of its fury," Rell said in a press release. "Lawmakers can no longer cling to false optimism that we can squeak by for one more fiscal year before facing up to any truly difficult financial decisions."

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