Rell Says State Has A Very Big Hole In Its Wallet

A somber Governor M. Jodi Rell warned Wednesday that Connecticut is facing massive state budget deficits -- nearly $6 billion over the next two fiscal years.  The governor said she'll have to make massive cuts to make up the difference.

In a news conference Wednesday, Rell said America's economic problems have decimated state revenues. State income tax, sales tax and casino revenues all dropped significantly in recent months.

The last crisis of this magnitude was in 1991 when the state had to impose a state income tax.

At the moment, there is no new tax that would bring in the kind of dollars the income tax has produced.

"The forecast for our economy is indeed very bleak," said Rell, flanked by her lieutenant governor and budget director at the state Capitol news conference. She called the latest deficit projections "absolutely astounding."

Rell, a republican, said her budget office is providing the General Assembly, controlled by Democrats, with a report on the state's fiscal condition. It shows a projected $2.6 billion deficit for the 2010 fiscal year, which starts on July 1, 2009. The 2011 fiscal year would be $3.3 billion in the red with spending at current levels, according to the report.

The governor said she would do everything possible to avoid laying-off state workers.  An early retirement package is on the table, she added.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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