Republicans renewed their accusation Monday that the governor's administration has hidden key budget data for political benefit.
The allegation comes a week after news of differing budget predictions came to light in a pair of letters from Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget chief, Benjamin Barnes.
In one letter to agency heads he detailed a $133 million deficit for which department commissioners would have to prepare, and in the statutorily required letter to the state's Comptroller, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Barnes wrote that the budget was in balance.
"Something doesn't smell right in here," said Rep. Themis Klarides, the Republican Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. "It just doesn't.
Sen. Len Fasano raised the same concerns.
“Why are you being so guarded, if not purposely leaving this information off the radar screen?”
Malloy has said there is nothing scientific or misleading about the two letters. He said the letter to the Comptroller accurately portrayed the state's fiscal situation, while the memo to agency leaders was meant for planning.
“There is a difference between making budgets and where you are on a budget and for planning purposes we use one number with the respect to the future, with respect to where we are in the current fiscal year which is that one number," the governor said Monday when asked about the Republican criticism.
He went on to say his administration will give another update to the Comptroller, as laid out by law, before the end of the week.
“The whole thing is silly. I think that we don’t hide budget data. We put it out there pretty quickly. The next big date I think is the 20th of this month which you know, will be a letter that says where we are.”
Rep. Klarides said she can't rule out the political nature of the information at the tail end of an election year. She says even though legislative Democrats and the governor have had their differences, he has a vested interest in keeping Democrats safe from Republicans and a swing in legislative control.
“He certainly has had his relationship issues with the majority in this building but who do you think he would rather have to work with as a majority? Not us.”