With less than a week to go in the regular legislative session, Governor Jodi Rell has proposed a new budget. It closes a $7.9 billion dollar hole -- about $2 billion more that what she offered in February. But that's still about $800 million short of deficit projections by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Her proposal relies on about one and half billion dollars from new cuts. Rell still supports raising state fees, but refuses to raise taxes.
"By holding the line on taxes and making the tough decisions now, we really can become a beacon of opportunity. We can make our state infinitely more affordable for businesses and for investors and people who simply want to live in a state that recognizes their needs and concerns."
Like her earlier budget, she proposes shrinking government. She wants to eliminate 10 state offices and 70 boards and commissions--though she says she's confident that affected employees will be transferred or take early retirement, but not be laid off.
She also proposes introducing the lottery game Keno, which she estimates will bring in $60 million a year once it is up and running.
Municipal aid and local education funding would stay flat.
House Appropriations Chairman John Geragosian said he felt blindsided by the governor's new budget. He says negotiations had been moving steadily, with Democrats agreeing to more spending cuts than what they passed out of committee.
But he says deep disagreement remains over taxes.
"We're not going to make irresponsible cuts on the backs of poorest of Connecticut's residents before we ask the wealthiest of Connecticut's residents to pay a little bit more. I don't think that's responsible. I don't think that's moral."
The governor did concede one policy change to Democrats for this fiscal year. She now supports borrowing up to $965 million to close the hole that remains for the budget year that ends June 30.
The rundown of the governor's new budget proposals is here.