State Comptroller Nancy Wyman has increased her projection for the stateâ€™s year-end budget surplus. But she says she has concerns about the direction of Connecticutâ€™s economy next year.
Wyman now says the state will round out the 2008 fiscal year with a 150 million dollar surplus. She says increases in wages and consequently income tax collection is behind the 50 million dollar increase in the estimate since last month. Connecticut has gained 20 thousand jobs from 2006.
Through October 2007, average hourly earnings in the state grew by nearly 4 percent and average weekly hours of employment also increased. But in October, Connecticut suffered its first net jobs loss in several months, losing 700 posts overall. And Wyman says thatâ€™s merely one of several warning signs. She says consumer confidence is an issue, with preliminary sales figures from the holiday shopping season that are in her words â€œnot positiveâ€.
Also, Wyman is concerned about the drag on the economy from the sagging housing market. Connecticut home sales were down nearly ten percent in the third quarter. The Comptroller says slumping sales and rising foreclosures have the potential to have a serious impact on state and municipal revenues. Another key source of state revenues, huge rises in corporate profits, also look to be trimmed significantly, as companies report more modest net income figures.