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Governor Rell Says Budget Shortfall Shouldn't Matter
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Governor Rell's revised budget closes a nearly 8 Billion dollar deficit projected over the next two fiscal years. Yet the Office of fiscal Analysis has a deficit number of about 800 million dollars higher. Rell says she hopes an up-turn in the economy will help make up the difference.

The General Assembly and the governor have not yet come to an agreement on the state's looming deficit.

Rell says the state needs to pass a budget on time. But the question remains how big the deficit truly is.

Rell told WNPR's Morning Edition that her budget office and the OFA will need to agree on the final number but she says the size of the shortfall shouldn't make a difference.

"It doesn't matter... I don't mean this to be flip, but it doesn't matter if the budget deficit is six billion, eight billion, ten billion. You have to cut spending, and to date, they have not shown the willingness nor the stomach to make the real difficult spending cuts."

Rell said she's hopeful that by 2011, the state's economy will start turning around.

Senate President Don Williams says Rell has consistently underestimated the deficit as a way to avoid raising taxes. He says the gap does matter, and the only way to solve the fiscal crisis is to agree on the basic first step of determining the state's bottom line.

"It means the difference between whether certain taxes on the wealthy are on the table, it makes a difference on whether you close a community college, or a couple of prisons, or a state university. It makes a difference in terms of critical services for our cities and our towns, for our senior citizens, for education, so it makes a tremendous difference across the board."

Governor Rell has agreed to borrow money in order to close this year's budget gap, and will pay off the loan over the next seven years.