Gov. M. Jodi Rell last week announced that the state’s budget surplus in January was about $100 million more than it was the month before. The surplus stands at $263.2 million, up from $163.1 million in December, primarily due to income tax receipts coming in stronger than estimated, Rell spokesman Chris Cooper said.

Still, projected additional budget requirements in the general fund also have risen. The Department of Correction has an estimated deficiency of $17 million due to the increased prison population, and the state estimates that the University of Connecticut Health Center requires an additional $10.9 million to address its budgetary shortfall. Skyrocketing oil prices could prompt the state to spend $24 million extra for its program that provides heating assistance to low-income families.

“While this jump in surplus is welcome news, we still must continue to protect Connecticut from any downturn in the economy,” Rell said in a statement.

She said the surplus should be deposited into the state’s rainy-day fund, which now stands at $1.36 billion, and she vowed not to create new taxes. Rell also instructed her budget office to request from state agencies any ideas or suggestions to reduce spending both this year and next.

The governor plans on Feb. 6 to present her budget adjustment proposals for the $37 billion biennial budget enacted last year.


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