Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy asked the state legislature to consider a $317.5 million quarterly “mini-budget” should the state not pass a budget by Friday’s deadline.

A full “resource allocation plan” for fiscal 2018 would involve even deeper cuts, Malloy said Monday before lawmakers continued negotiating his proposed $39 billion biennial spending plan. State officials say Connecticut needs to close about a $5 billion projected deficit over the two-year period.

“A responsible, short-term option that allows us more time to negotiate a full budget, without making our current problems any worse and without further jeopardizing the state’s bond rating,” Malloy said.

Moody’s Investors Service rates Connecticut general obligation bonds A1, while S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings assign A-plus ratings. Kroll Bond Rating Agency rates them AA-plus. Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey are the only states with ratings below double-A.

Republicans say a full budget is necessary to avoid further wrath from the capital markets.

“The bonding folks are watching us and a lot of people are watching our credibility,” said Senate Republican leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. “We believe we should be passing a budget by July 1.”

The mini-budget, said Malloy, would enable the adoption of a revenue schedule, even for partial funding, and will allow continued consideration of critical debt-funded projects. In addition, he said, it would reduce the need for project cancellations to stay within the debt limit.

Without a budget, said the governor, the state could not convene the bond commission to issue GO debt, and automatic authorizations would lead to exceeding the debt limit.

The $317.5 million, said Malloy, adopts revenue options common to budget proposals from Democrats and Republicans. The Senate is split 18-18 between the parties, while Democrats have a 79-72 advantage in the House of Representatives.

Municipal aid reductions are less severe, he said, while the mini-budget also softens education-aid cuts. According to Malloy, it provides municipalities additional tools such as an extension of time to adopt budgets and a revision of the motor vehicle tax cap.

It would also restores about $35.6 million of state funding for hospital supplemental payments, including small hospital payments, resulting in total hospital revenue of $111.4 million, including federal share payments.

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Paul Burton

Paul Burton

Paul Burton is the Northeast Regional Editor for The Bond Buyer and the author of the book "Tales from the Newsrooms." He is a sought-after public speaker and has appeared on radio and TV shows, including former CBS News White House correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s public-affairs program, “Full Measure.”