HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Sunday he’s accomplished much in his first 18 months in office, including nearly balancing the state budget, winning education reform and pushing legislation to permit Sunday liquor sales.
He said he has no disappointments and that he loves being governor.
“I don’t dwell on disappointments,” he said in an interview on WFSB-TV’s “Face the State.”“I love it,” Malloy said.
“I’m very happy. I love to work.”
The top accomplishment he cited was reducing the budget deficit of more than $3.5 billion at the start of his term in January 2011.
“That might be the biggest change,” the governor said. “It cost a lot of political capital to get it. It ruffled a lot of feathers. Elbows were thrown.”
Malloy’s popularity among Connecticut voters sagged last year as he tackled the state’s budget deficit with a “shared sacrifice” approach of union concessions, spending cuts and wide-ranging tax increases.
The state may still end its budget year on June 30 with a deficit of about $192 million. Malloy said that’s because he and lawmakers overestimated the pace of the nation’s economic recovery.
The final budget numbers won’t be known until after all revenue data are in, he said.
Comptroller Kevin Lembo said last week that revenue from income tax withholding is up 18.3 percent from last year, which he said was expected. But revenue from estimated tax payments, which are related to capital gains and bonuses, rose less than 6 percent. Lembo said that’s lower than past years.
He blamed the troubled financial sector, which plays a large role in Connecticut’s economy, and the impact of a volatile stock marker on Wall Street brokers and other industry employees who live in Fairfield County.
A budget passed by state lawmakers in May covers the deficit. Minority Republicans have criticized Malloy and fellow Democrats who run the legislature for failing to impose deeper budget cuts.
The governor also took credit for restructuring higher education and reinvesting $5 million in savings in community colleges.
“I guess this sounds kind of corny. We’ve done the things we said we’d do,” Malloy said.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)