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Appropriations Committee Proposes Millions in Cuts
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The legislature's Appropriations Committee has finalized a list of proposed cuts to help close this year's billion-dollar budget deficit. Funds for environmental compliance, clean elections, and business development are on the list.

In February, the General Assembly passed a bill to seize $220 million from accounts that are outside the General Revenue fund. Last week, the Appropriations Committee submitted a list of $246 million in such cuts.

In a joint statement, House Speaker Chris Donovan and Senate President Don Williams says these cuts will not compromise the work of state agencies because the funds come from uncommitted, existing balances.

The list does include dozens of smaller, static funds, but more than 150 million dollars come from just ten accounts.

Three of them pay for environmental compliance and conservation. Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain says the agency would be crippled if that funding is cut and not replaced elsewhere.

"Those are three of the main funds we use to operate this agency. To pay people, to support programs."

The Citizens Election program has already taken a $13.5 million cut to help close the deficit. Now it's on the list for another $13 million.

"And that is a cut we cannot absorb."

Beth Rotman is the director of the state program that publicly finances election campaigns. She says if this additional cut goes through, and the funds aren't restored in the next budget year, there won't be enough money to run the program for the 2010 elections.

Money for economic development would also take a hit. Connecticut Innovations would lose $9.5 million out of its fund that invests in start-ups and helps lure companies to the state. The Connecticut Development Authority would lose $20 million. That's a cut legislative Democrats proposed before, but they backed down after complaints from the Rell Administration.