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Malloy Asks Legislative Leaders To Come Up With Budget Cuts

Photo credit: LendingMemo.com

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed cutting the state's workforce Tuesday in order to save money and asked Connecticut legislative leaders to come up with their own ideas by next week for slashing the current fiscal year budget, stressing how everyone needs to act quickly because time is running out.

"These are difficult decisions. They are made more complicated by the fact that we are more than three-quarters through the fiscal year," the governor said in a letter to the top six leaders of the General Assembly. "In other words, because most expenditures have already been made, we are more limited in what we can cut."

Malloy wants lawmakers to return with their proposals by March 14. The current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is at least $220 million in deficit. He met with them privately on Tuesday for about an hour. The new fiscal year, which begins July 1, could be $900 million in deficit.

"It's a lot of work to do in a relatively short amount of time, no question," said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, following the meeting.

Malloy offered lawmakers some of his own budget-cutting ideas that total $128.6 million, including what he called an "expedited reduction of the state workforce" that would save $6 million. He also proposed reducing non-education state aid to cities and towns by $20 million and cutting funds to private providers of social services by $51 million.

Jeffrey Walter, interim CEO of the Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance, called the proposed cut "simply staggering" and predicted it will force some agencies to close their doors.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether stalled state payments to hospitals will be released, something both Democratic and Republican legislative leaders have demanded. Malloy said cuts need to be made to cover the cost. He said the state's share of the payments totals $31.6 million.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, was not optimistic about the payments, which Malloy said were halted temporarily to provide time for a "more holistic discussion" on the budget.

"Temporary in this building, when it comes to money, usually translates to never," he said.