Smaller Budget, Bigger Task

The legislative session has barely begun and the people chosen to run the state have a tough task – the state budget.

The governor has posted the full budget on her Web site, along with budget highlights and a town-by-town breakdown.

Lawmakers have to find a way to divide a smaller state budget into pieces at a time when the state is over extended and groups that bank on state money need more help.
The legislature's tax-writing committee will hear more about the plan Friday.

The plan now is for lawmakers to vote Wednesday on Gov. M Jodi Rell's plan to reduce the current fiscal year deficit, which is estimated at $343 million.

Republican senators said they hope not to have a battle of the parties and that the majority Democrats pass Rell's plan, or at least come up with their own.

Waiting until the end of the fiscal year to use the state's $1.4 billion rainy day fund to cover the deficit would be mistake, they said.

Minority Leader John McKinney said the state's fiscal problems would only worsen. He believes the $6 billion deficit that is predicted over the next two years could balloon to $8 billion.

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