Legislative projections that the state could face a $1.278 billion deficit in the 2015-16 fiscal budget year are simply unrealistic, Gov. Dannel Malloy said Friday. He also ruled out asking state workers for more concessions.
“We don’t face a deficit,” Malloy said. He said the $1.4 billion deficit forecast by the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis is based on projected state spending increases of more than 7 percent.
“Nobody, no party… is going to advocate increasing our spending by 7.78 percent,” said Malloy, a Democrat running for reelection this year. He said the four-year average for state spending increases is less than half that rate. “This is very much about continuing fiscal restraint,” Malloy said.
The latest $19 billion budget signed into law by Malloy includes a spending increase of about 2.5 percent.
He promised that, if reelected, he would not allow state spending to “blow up the way it did” under the administrations of the two Republican governors who preceded him in office: John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell.
The governor also renewed his promise not to raise taxes. “There will not be a tax increase,” he said.
Malloy also said he has no intention of reopening the concessions deal with state employee unions that was agreed to several years ago. He said that agreement “was the biggest reason that we can look at this [state employee] benefits package as sustainable.”
The state’s budget status is far better today than it was when he took office in 2011, said Malloy. He said that, when he took office, he “got handed a budget based on people not doing the hard work that needed to be done.”
Senate minority leader John McKinney, who is running for governor, referred to the Belmont Stakes horse race that will be held Saturday in New York on the border of New York City and Nassau County.
“I guess with the big horse race coming up, the governor is trying for his own Triple Crown – no deficits, no new taxes and no concessions,” McKinney said. “I understand that it’s an election year, but I believe the deal Governor Malloy made with the unions is unsustainable for state taxpayers and he knows it. We have a retirement system that allows a judge that works for three years to make a $100,000 pension. State employees have defined-benefit plans that are more generous than virtually anything that is available in the private sector. If we are serious about achieving balanced budgets, we need to open the contract and work together for a real solution that is fair to everyone who lives and works in our state.”