Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell last week proposed a $1.1 billion deficit mitigation plan to close a gap in the current year budget and called on the General Assembly to adopt the measure on Wednesday.
More than half of plan — $665.5 million — relies on federal stimulus funds and budget reserves. The rest of the plan is a menu of spending cuts, fund transfers, and revenue-raising measures.
The Republican governor said in a press release that the Democratic-led legislature needs “to adopt my plan in its entirety and stop picking and choosing the relatively easy options while putting off the inevitable.”
Among the fund transfers are a $28 million sweep of the loan program which was originally funded in 1984 with special tax obligation bond proceeds and is used to offer 6% loans to local governments for bridge improvement projects. Another would take $7 million from the state’s local bridge revolving fund grant program, which also originally was funded with bond proceeds. Rell’s office said the programs are underutilized.
Rell also proposed transferring $12.5 million out the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority’s current $16.7 million balance.
Among the cuts and cost saving measures are early retirement incentives to reduce the size of the state workforce and cuts to post-employment health benefits that would require union approval.
The size of the budget gap is in dispute. The governor’s office estimates it will be $922 million for the fiscal ending June 30, while the General Assembly puts the deficit at $1.3 billion. Rell said she was using the state comptroller’s estimate, which falls in between.