Comptroller Wyman to State Legislature: "Steer Clear of Budgetary
||Contact: Bob King
||860-703-3311 or 860-702-3300
In a press conference accompanying the release of her second annual Comptroller's Report: Connecticut's
Economic Health, Comptroller Nancy Wyman cautioned the legislature and the
Governor not to make hasty decisions during budget creation for the upcoming biennium.
"We are heading in the right direction on the road to fiscal stability," said
Wyman. "But we must avoid creating our own potholes in that road."
In the report, Wyman analyzes Connecticut's economic condition against demographic
trends and other socioeconomic data, and uses that information to make her recommendations
for the budget. In the "Comptroller's Watch List," Wyman points to four areas
that she recommends the Governor and the legislature address:
- Tax Cuts. Wyman pointed out that there are $700 million in tax cuts already
on the books for implementation before the end of upcoming biennium. "We must
view these tax reduction obligations in light of an overall state operating position that
is still in deficit and still relies heavily on debt financing," said Wyman. Wyman
recommended that the Governor and the legislature evaluate the tax reductions already on
the books before creating any new ones and prioritize any tax cuts so that they assist the
greatest number of Connecticut citizens.
- Welfare Reserve Fund. Due to changes in federal funding, the legislature will
exercise more discretion in distributing the federal welfare funds. "Connecticut will
be receiving more welfare funds--at least initially--than we anticipated," said
Wyman. "We should not use this excess money to plug any holes in our budget as some
other states are doing." Wyman recommended establishing a welfare reserve fund to
mitigate the impact of future downturns in the economy.
- Health Care Reform. Citing the municipal employee health care program and a
long-term health care insurance offering to state employees, Wyman urged the continuation
of methodical health care reform. "Targeted, reasonable changes in the state's health
care delivery system can preserve access AND effect savings," said Wyman. She
recommended the legislature support two proposals that deal with uninsured children and
incentives for business to provide health insurance to their employees. Wyman also intends
to convene a task force this year to look at ways to provide all Connecticut residents
with affordable long-term care insurance.
- Conversion to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Wyman said GAAP
would put the state on sound fiscal footing and mirror those standard accounting
principles used by both the private sector and Connecticut's municipalities. By law, GAAP
is scheduled to take effect July 1; Wyman urged the legislature not to postpone the
conversion. "If we are going to be--as the Governor says-- ' the state that
thinks like a business,' we had better start acting like a business when it comes
to our state budget." In recognition of the state's current financial position, Wyman
recommended a phase-in of the GAAP conversion to reduce its overall fiscal impact.
"I believe we are in a better financial position than we were a year ago,"
Wyman said. "If we take the steps I've outlined in my Watch List, our state will be
in an even stronger financial position this time next year."
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page, at the link below.
For Immediate Release
February 5, 1997
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