Malloy Announces New Round of Budget Cuts

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is using his executive authority to make $65 million in cuts to address the state's $220 million deficit.

The Democratic governor unveiled the list of cuts Wednesday, hours after meeting with legislative leaders to discuss how to address the stubborn budget shortfall.

The largest cut — $17 million — is being made to the Department of Development Services. The Department of Children and Families is being cut by $6.5 million.

“It’s going to have a huge impact absolutely,” Darnell Ford, a DCF employee said. “You’re talking about people not being able to get the care that they need.”

In a statement, the governor said: “These were difficult decisions, but one that nevertheless have to be made to ensure that we don’t spend more than we actually have.”

“When you look at the b ottom line of our budget, something had to be done,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “We have to look at everything. There’s nothing that’s not being looked at right now.”

Reached by phone Wednesday night, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) said he did not agree with all of the cuts, but the governor had to do something because the Democrats are dragging their feet. He said legislators have to work faster to fix the deficit that is more than $200 million. Senate Democrats say they are doing just that.

“That’s the part of the package that we have to work out. The specifics are still being determined, but it will be a variety of cuts,” said Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven).

Another round of cuts from lawmakers is expected in the coming weeks. They still have more than $100 million to come up with to balance the budget before the session ends in May. With more cuts on the way, state workers are left to wonder what will be next.

“I’m concerned about layoffs, but I have to be honest. I’m not as concerned about layoffs as I am about the people we are caring for,” Ford said. 

Under state law, Malloy has limited authority to order state cuts in certain parts of the budget. He is allowed to reduce a line item by 5 percent or less.

Malloy said lawmakers will need to pass legislation to cover the rest of the deficit for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

A vote in the General Assembly is expected during the final week of March.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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