STATE OF CONNECTICUT
THE STATE COMPTROLLER
|WYMAN SEES BUDGET DEFICIT RISING TO $51.7 MILLION|
|Contact: Steve Jensen|
State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today said the estimated 2004 state budget deficit has risen to $51.7 million, mainly due to higher-than-expected spending on health care costs.
Although overall revenues and many economic indicators are improving, overspending hiked the deficit by about $49 million in the last month, Wyman said in a report to the Governor. She said most of the higher spending was on health care costs in programs run by the Department of Social Services for low-income adults and children.
The department's budget called for about $50 million in savings to be achieved by cutting medical costs in the HUSKY health insurance plan and the state's general-assistance program, and by making changes in how the state buys prescription drugs.
"Those were very aggressive and ambitious savings targets," Wyman said. "It is now clear that level of savings cannot be achieved."
The Department of Children and Families also is about $12 million over budget, mainly due to costs associated with the hiring of several dozen social workers.
On the revenue side, Wyman reported that the income and sales tax continue to show modest growth of about two percent and four percent, respectively. About 2,300 payroll jobs were added statewide in October, she said, and unemployment dropped slightly to 4.9 percent.
Advanced retail sales were about six percent higher than a year ago, and existing home sales in Connecticut rose by a sharp 12 percent in the third quarter of 2003.
Wyman's deficit projection of $51.7 million matches the latest estimate by the Governor's budget office for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2004.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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For Immediate Release
December 1, 2003
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