Budget Tit for Tat

It didn't take long for the Democratic-controlled Legislature's fiscal experts to find fault with Gov. M. Jodi Rell's latest budget proposal. 

There's a $371 million difference between their numbers and those put forth by Rell and her budget team, the Office Of Policy and Management, they said.

On Wednesday, Rell introduced a plan to balance the state budget over the next two fiscal year and wipe out an $8.5 billion deficit in the process. It included several proposals, including a higher income tax on the state's wealthiest residents, cutting the sales tax from 6 percent to 5.5 percent, eliminating the inheritance tax and an additional $520 million in additional cuts to be made by Democrats.

On Thursday, however, the Office Of Fiscal Analysis, the Legislature's budget writing unit, said Rells plan is $371 million out of whack. Her tax plan, they said, would not bring in the revenue she says it would and sales tax cut would cost the state more money than she's predicting.

Rell, in a statement released late Thursday afternoon, said if there's a disagreement on the budget calculations, then we will address it and identify a number we can all agree upon. She also said she had hoped an agreement could be released Thursday afternoon. Fiscal experts say it will take longer than that.

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