Facing a projected $1.5 billion state budget deficit with expected financial aid cuts to municipalities, Governor Dan Malloy on Wednesday delivered his State of the State address before a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly. The governor will present his budget proposal to the legislature next month.
What the governor outlines in his February budget proposal will impact Mayor Joe Ganim’s spending plan submission to the City Council the first week of April. Ganim, working with the city’s eight-member legislative delegation, will be a visible presence in Hartford schmoozing lawmakers for city’s fair share of the state pie. The larger question for the governor and legislature is what will they do about Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s CCJEF v. Rell ruling that condemned the unfairness in state education funding toward cities
Other highlights from Malloy’s speech:
“When we give people reason to believe that their job is here to stay, we’re giving them the confidence to purchase a home, to buy a new family car, or to start a college fund,” he said in his address. “In other words, we’re giving them confidence to take part in our state economy.
“And it’s equally true for their employers,” he continued. “Predictability allows businesses to expand, to make new hires, to put down new roots right here in Connecticut. This is what companies and their workers are looking for. They deserve it, and it’s on us to provide it.”
While the projected $1.5 billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year presents a significant fiscal challenge, the Governor stated that reductions in spending will need to be found in all facets of the state budget. In particular, he outlined three major areas that must be addressed this legislative session in order to achieve a balanced biennium budget:
· Continued cost savings and efficiencies in state government
· Changes that will make the state pension and benefits more affordable
· Creating a more fair and equitable system for town aid, one that guarantees equal access to a quality education for all children
Savings must be realized in each of these three areas, he urged, while honoring the state’s obligations to taxpayers, students, and state workers and retirees.
In the wake of November’s presidential election, the Governor also reaffirmed Connecticut’s legacy of fairness, collaboration, and inclusivity.
“Our state has a long legacy of acceptance, compassion, and fairness. Regardless of whether your family settled in Connecticut 300 years ago or three days ago, you are welcome here,” he said. “As the people of Connecticut navigate a changing national landscape, we will continue to ensure that every state resident is treated with dignity and respect. That will not change–not now, not ever.”