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Dems Want Social Services Audit
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Senate President Don Williams: Photo by Anna SaleSenate President Don Williams: Photo by Anna SaleConcerns over the rising state budget deficit have prompted Democratic lawmakers to call for an audit of the biggest part of the state budget - the Department of Social Services.

 

Democratic leaders called a press conference to respond to Governor Jodi Rell's new budget deficit projections. House Speaker James Amann wouldn't say that he thinks Governor Rell's 300 million deficit estimate is incorrect, but he did point out that some of her previous budget estimates have missed the mark.

"I'm not saying she's wrong this time. She may be right, but she made the prediction of deficits in 2005, 2006, 2007. We all ended up with surpluses."

Democratic leaders say they're not willing to consider any spending changes at this point. While they acknowledged the trouble on Wall Street may hit Connecticut hard, they say the impact on state tax collections won't be clear until at least next month.

Meanwhile, Senate President Don Williams wants a better accounting of the Department of Social Services since changes to the HUSKY health plan for low income children and families and the creation of the Charter Oak health plan for uninsured adults.

"We are not certain what the economic impact will be to the state of Connecticut. We need those answers as we go forward."

Comptroller Nancy Wyman has agreed to hire a private firm called UHY to conduct an in-depth audit of DSS spending. She says it will cost less than 100-thousand dollars and will be complete by the end of the year.

Rell spokesman Rich Harris dismissed the audit as an wasteful and inefficient use of government dollars.