Federal stimulus money is starting to flow in Connecticut, with as much as $3 billion dollars expected overall. A new website tracks where the money is going, but Governor Rell says the stimulus won't solve the state's budget crisis because things keep getting worse.
The website was launched this week, and it posts everything from an itemized list of new highway spending, to the state's correspondence with Washington, to meeting minutes of the state's stimulus working group.
One of its newest posts is Connecticut's application for new federal clean energy funding. To get it, the state committed to adopt strict efficiency codes for both commercial and residential properties, and to working with utilities to encourage more conservation by consumers.
Rell says the new money will pay for some of that energy conversion, plus incentives and training. "39 million dollars in new energy funds is money well received and will be put to good use, trust me," she said.
But she says this new money will not ease the deep fiscal crisis in the state. "The picture is getting worse. There's no question that even since January the numbers have changed," she said.
The governor's proposed budget relied on those older numbers, and closes just a 6 billion dollar deficit for the next two years. The hole could be as much as $3 billion deeper.
Still, she says the current fiscal year's deficit needs to be wiped out before she'll update her budget proposal. "I'm the only one that's putting any cuts on the table. We need to address this fiscal year before we move on to the budget," she said.
The General Assembly passed a law last month that called for $220 million in program cuts, but it didn't specify where they would come from. The law directed the Appropriations committee to recommend specific cuts by today. A spokesman fro the committee says they won't meet that deadline, and it will probably be next week before a list is complete.