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WYMAN SAYS STRONG TAX REVENUES
WILL CREATE $127 MILLION SURPLUS

Contact: Steve Jensen
860-702-3308 or 860-702-3301

A sharp jump in revenues from the income tax and sales tax will create a state budget surplus of $127 million for the 1997-98 fiscal year, state Comptroller Nancy Wyman said today.

Income tax receipts are running about $160 million over previous estimates, Wyman said, and the sales tax is projected to bring in $75 million more than anticipated.

Wyman attributed the increased income tax collections to the gain of about 32,000 new jobs in Connecticut over the past year, and a 4-percent rise in earnings. Unemployment also remains at a low 4.6-percent, down from last year's 5.7 percent.

Despite the good news on revenues, however, Wyman cautioned that state spending will exceed the budget by $131 million, marking the third straight year that overspending has reached more than $100 million.

Wyman said the chronic overspending is keeping the state from reaching its full financial potential in paying down debt and filling the Rainy Day Fund, which is $131 million short of its statutory target.

``Recent problems in the stock market remind us that the good economic times that created this surplus may not last forever," she said. ``We remain one of the top five states in per-capita debt, which is not a good sign for long-term budget stability."

Most of the overspending is in social service and welfare programs. The Department of Social Services is currently $105 million over budget, mainly in its Medicaid account. In addition, higher than expected caseloads and claims have created deficiencies in the department's Temporary Family Assistance and General Assistance programs.

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For Immediate Release
November 3, 1997

To Monthly Letter to the Governor dated November 3, 1997
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