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Dems Want a "Clear Picture" of Budget Deficit
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Democratic leaders are asking the appropriations committee to come up with an additional $2.8 billion in potential cuts in the next two weeks.

The non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis is projecting a budget deficit of about $8.7 billion. Governor Rell's budget is based on a $6 billion shortfall.

Senate president Don Williams says the dispute over numbers has to stop, and real budget cutting must begin.

"We have to move beyond the gamesmanship over 'is the budget deficit increase real or not?'" said Williams. "We know it's real. And we've got to have real cuts that are on the table, a real budget that's balanced, so that the appropriations process and the finance committee process can be dealing with the reality of our budget deficit gap as we know it right now.

Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, says lawmakers and the public deserve to see a clear picture of what the budget deficit really is.

"$2.8 billion -- just to give you a perspective, if we lay off every state employee, that's I think 2.6 billion. $3.4 billion is the money that goes to all the cities and towns -- 2.8 would be 80 percent of that."

Michael Cicchetti is the Deputy Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. He says the cuts proposed by the Democrats are in his words, a colossal waste of time. And he says the governor's office has been trying to relay the gravity of the deficit since last may.

"Everyone in this building said 'what are you doing? It's too early.' We said 'hey guys, things are going to get bad.'You know, they basically made fun of us, saying we were going too early. We've been saying this for almost a year now. And I don't know what it's going to take for people in this building to finally realize that we are in a real problem here."

But Cicchetti reiterated the governor's past statement -- that she will not propose new taxes to fill the budget deficit.