Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell stressed her commitment for maintaining local aid and keeping tax rates at current levels as state and municipal officials last week met to address the state’s $300 million budget shortfall.

Local officials from six different communities relayed their challenges, including scaling back on spending and resistance to increased taxes.

The fiscal 2009 budget, which began July 1, totals $18.4 billion. The funding shortfall is due to underperforming tax revenue.

“We all must find other creative ways to balance our budgets and meet our obligations to our citizens,” Rell said in a press release. “The bottom line is that I understand how difficult it is now, and will likely be over the next several months until the financial turmoil begins to settle. I want to assure our municipalities that we intend to get through this together and with as little impact as possible on the citizens we serve.”

Rell anticipates the $300 million deficit to remain stable, but that could change depending on quarterly tax estimates to be released in January. Through her executive authority, the governor has called for $180 million of spending cuts.

As the governor requested, the Legislature will reconvene next month in a special session to tackle the remaining shortfall.

Connecticut carries AA ratings from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s. Moody’s Investors Service rates the state Aa3.

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