Thursday, October 2, 2008

$300 million deficit confirmed; State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi calls for swift action now

HARTFORD – State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R-Somers) is calling for swift action to offset the growing $300 million state deficit that was confirmed by independent budget analysts during a fiscal forum convened by House and Senate Republicans.

Sinking revenues and the refusal of the majority to make budget adjustments this year has led to the most serious fiscal problems the state has faced in years, said Rep. Bacchiochi.

The budget problems will only worsen over time without legislative action, and the deficit could reach $1.2 billion in 2010, according to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

“The news was staggering in its severity. We cannot wait another day before we begin to address these problems. The citizens of Connecticut need to know what we are facing and be prepared for the challenges we are going to face in the next two years. I do not think tax increases are an option, we have to look at scaling back state government,” said Rep. Bacchiochi.

The data show that revenue from virtually every sector is way off, from real estate sales to income taxes and sales taxes.

Rep. Bacchiochi noted that the dire budget numbers do not even reflect any portion of the recent troubles of Wall Street financial institutions beginning Sept. 15, which will ripple further through Connecticut’s economy.

The forum revealed that revenues are seriously lagging:

· Investment income is off 41 percent;

· Real estate conveyance taxes are down more than 40 percent;

· Casino gambling revenue is down 4.3 percent;

· Automobile sales taxes are off 10.8 percent.

Rep. Bacchiochi said the data shows that Connecticut is over reliant on certain areas of the state when it comes to revenue. Fairfield County provides 45 percent of all the incomes taxes to Connecticut, he noted.

Since the budget was adopted in June of 2007, housing starts are off an astounding 122 percent.

Rep. Bacchiochi added that all parties in state government – all lawmakers, the administration and state employees – must come together quickly and begin the work that lies ahead.

“What we have heard so far is that we cannot wait months to consider our options. No budget adjustments were made this spring and we are already in trouble,” she said.

State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R-Somers) represents Somers, Stafford and Union in the General Assembly.

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