December 5, 2009

Wilton's state legislators brace for Rell's new deficit proposal

Wilton's state legislators brace for Rell's new deficit proposal: "In its monthly letter to the state comptroller, OPM on Friday estimated the current year budget deficit at $466.5 million. The comptroller has already certified that state tax revenues will not be within 1% of original projections, meaning that a planned 0.5 percentage-point reduction in the state sales tax will not take effect in January, so the governor’s plan adjusts the deficit figure downward by $129.5 million. That leaves a deficit of about $337 million to be closed.
Ms. Rell’s plan recommends $116.3 million in program reductions that will require legislative approval, and also freezes enrollment in Rell’s Charter Oak Health Plan for uninsured adults and imposes co-payments for Medicaid recipients and premium increases for those already enrolled in the Husky health insurance program.
The plan calls for a reduction of 3% in state aid to municipalities, a savings to the state budget of $84 million. This is the first time during this budget crisis that the governor has recommended any reduction in state funding for cities and towns.
To offset the effects of this cut, the governor is forming a panel of lawmakers and six municipal leaders — mayors or first selectmen from two large cities, two mid-size communities and two rural towns — to make proposals for immediate mandate relief. Gov. Rell has previously proposed steps such as a temporary suspension of binding arbitration and requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature before any further mandates are imposed.
The panel is to make its recommendations as soon as possible so the legislature may take swift action to enact them into law and maximize the savings to cities and towns."

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