State lawmakers are meeting behind closed doors to craft a budget, handicapped by the fact that they are facing a serious revenue shortfall. The fiscal year that begins July 1 is now projected to result in a $2.3 billion spending deficit while the second year of the two-year budget could be $2.7 billion in the red.
What will this mean for ordinary citizens? Here are a few items from the morning’s news:
* Lawmakers and Gov. Dannel Malloy have already discussed the possibility of making deep cuts throughout state government, including to state colleges and universities and social services.
* Chris McClure, a spokesman for the governor’s budget office, says the first of approximately 1,100 workers could receive layoff notices by the end of this week. Malloy is seeking $700 million in givebacks from state workers to help fill that projected $2.3 billion hole.
* The Connecticut Association of Realtors officials say their members are on the front lines every day and see people moving out of state because of employment concerns, the cost of living, infrastructure issues and high taxes. In fact, some say that part of the state’s revenue decline can be attributed to “a handful” of wealthy individuals who moved to more tax-friendly states.
No one expects Connecticut to take on the kind of austerity program that has nearly bankrupted Kansas. But it is time to face reality and accept that our state has to live within its means, which will mean being open to the kind of leadership we have seen from Mark E. Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, who is bringing common sense belt-tightening to his domain.
We hope the legislature will follow his lead.