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WYMAN PROPOSES DEBT REFORM, TAX REBATES AND EXPANDED HEALTH COVERAGE IN ANNUAL COMPTROLLER'S REPORT

Contact: Steve Jensen
860-702-3306/3301

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today proposed a series of initiatives that would reform the way the state borrows money, issue rebates to taxpayers and expand health coverage for uninsured residents and those needing long-term care.

Wyman issued her proposals in her annual Comptroller's Report, which analyzes Connecticut's fiscal health and suggests ways to save taxpayer dollars through greater fiscal efficiency.

The state's economy is currently very strong, Wyman said, mostly due to the national economic recovery and the exceptional performance of Wall Street financial markets. Driven by record high income-tax receipts, a budget surplus of about $416 million is expected at the end of the fiscal year.

But Wyman also questioned several state financial practices that she said are unfair to future generations of taxpayers. In particular, Wyman pointed out that the state currently has the highest per-capita bonded debt in the country, at $9.3 billion, or $2,820 for every man, woman and child in the state.

"In the simplest terms, Connecticut is like a shopper with a pocketful of cash who chooses to use a credit card, instead," Wyman said at a press conference at her Elm Street offices. "While we continue to ring up surpluses, this high level of debt threatens to cripple our state's ability to deal with an inevitable economic downturn. It is our responsibility to get Connecticut's spending habits under control."

Wyman's proposals for addressing the debt include:

While debt reforms are necessary, Wyman said, taxpayers should still receive a share of any budget surplus through a rebate program similar to the one she proposed last year. Wyman said a rebate would return taxpayers' contributions to the surplus while maintaining a stable revenue base.

"Rebates ensure that today's tax cuts do not become tomorrow's tax increases," she said. "They made sense last year and we have the good fortune that they make sense today."

Wyman, who procures health insurance for 166,000 state employees, retirees and their families, also proposed initiatives that would:

Copies of the Comptroller's Report are available upon request at 860-702-3301 or by E-mail: paul.rifkin@po.state.ct.us.

The State Comptroller appreciates input on this and other issues from residents of the state. Please feel free to contact her office by phone - (860) 702-3300; mail - OSC, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106; or, via E-mail - osc.opinions@po.state.ct.us

Learn more about the Connecticut Comptroller's Office by calling up our Internet Home Page, at the link below.

For Immediate Release
February 3, 1999

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