Connecticut economists are warning that balancing the state’s budget over the long term is going to mean real pain for the middle class. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the latest issue of UConn’s quarterly publication, the Connecticut Economy contains a gloomy outlook for state finances.
This analysis characterizes Connecticut as facing not a bumpy road ahead so much as one long pothole. The state has already tapped many of the one-shot resources available to it, such as the rainy day fund, and federal stimulus cash, and it’s still facing projected budget deficits in fiscal years 2012, 13 and 14 of $3 billion or more each year. Report author Arthur Wright says revenue sources are not likely to recover sufficiently to fill the hole, and making efficiencies in state government will only go so far.
"Our options are to raise the taxes on the middle class, which is most of our tax base, and on the spending side, we don't have a lot of options that don't affect just about every citizen of the state. And true leadership would make it plainly clear to the people of Connecticut that if we try to cut spending it's going to be at their expense."
Wright says the two biggest targets for cuts in state spending may end up being education and human services, which between them account for more than 60% of the state budget.
For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.