By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday unveiled $170 million in spending reductions across state agencies, the first part of a plan to close Connecticut’s $365 million shortfall in the current year’s budget.
The Democrat’s office released a list that includes nearly $161 million worth of cuts to executive branch agencies. Malloy’s budget director, Ben Barnes, said legislative leaders have agreed to $3 million in reductions while the Judicial Branch has agreed to $5.75 million.
The cuts include a $33,957 cut to the governor’s office, a $32.2 million reduction at the Department of Social Services, and nearly $33.5 million in cuts to state employee fringe benefits costs. Everything from state grants to arts attractions to mosquito control are affected.
Malloy has the statutory authority to rescind up to 5 percent of any budget line and 3 percent of any fund without legislative approval.
“Many of these cuts are very difficult to make, especially now when so many residents continue to struggle in a tough economy,” Barnes said. “But as painful as they are, cuts are necessary to keep this year’s budget in balance. State government needs to live within its means.”
A plan to address the remaining $195 million shortfall is expected next month. That proposal will require legislative approval. Barnes said Malloy hopes to work with both the majority Democrats and minority Republicans on the package.
During a budget briefing on Tuesday, Barnes told the General Assembly’s two budget committees that Connecticut is recovering slower than expected from the national recession. The new fiscal year that begins on July 1 is $1.2 billion in deficit.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)