|The Comptroller's Report||Nancy Wyman - State Comptroller|
As the state's chief fiscal guardian and an independent voice for taxpayers, I am proud to present this unique issue of The Comptroller's Report: Connecticut's Economic Health.
|Nancy Wyman, State Comptroller|
This annual report is designed to give you a common sense view of our state's fiscal condition and outlook for the future. It can also help citizens hold government accountable by showing them where their hard earned tax dollars are being spent.
By Constitutional authority, the Comptroller is the state's accountant and payroll officer. I also procure and administer the health care plan for all state employees, retirees and their dependents. Therefore, I am constantly looking for ways to make government spending more efficient, and to improve the quality and cost of health care for all residents.
Like many of you, I am a member of the so-called "sandwich generation." I know well the pressures many of us experience caring for our children, grandchildren and aging parents - all at the same time. That is why it is so important to me that Connecticut continues to invest in our future. In particular, home care, day care and long-term health care services must be enhanced. I believe these programs not only improve peoples' lives, but can save tax dollars.
Government also must continue to explore ways to rein in the soaring costs of prescription drugs. We should find ways to use the state's enormous buying power to drive down the price and increase the accessibility of medications to the consumer.
Helping small businesses thrive has been a priority for me since I was first elected seven years ago. This year, I plan to ask the General Assembly to allow small businesses to buy into the state's Municipal Employees Health Insurance Program. That initiative could help businesses offer vital health insurance benefits to their workers, at no cost to taxpayers.
In this time of rapid economic change, efficiency is paramount. Government, like its citizens, must do more with less. Trying to save money by blindly cutting programs that work, however, makes no sense. A more practical approach is to figure out what programs are not delivering and make targeted, cost-effective cuts.
The tools to make those kinds of decisions will be put into policymakers' hands through the ongoing revamping of our state's core financial computer systems. This enormous, collaborative project, known as CORE-CT, represents a radical change in the way the state does business. Most importantly, it will for the first time enable the state to track every tax dollar that is spent so that intelligent budget cuts can be made without damaging effective programs.
The state also must become a better business partner to the towns and cities of Connecticut. We can take a step toward that goal by increasing the savings in our emergency Rainy Day Fund so that we are able to deal with inevitable economic downturns that affect every municipality. As I proposed last year, the state should also reinvest the interest earned on the Rainy Day Fund by sharing it with the towns and cities in order to help them avoid local tax increases.
Finally, I will continue to fight for the state to adopt Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. This accounting and reporting method presents a much more honest picture of state finances than the current practice, which allows for distortion and manipulation of the state's receipts and expenditures.
I am hopeful that you will find this report informative and that it encourages you to participate in the democratic process that affects every citizen of Connecticut.
P.S. - If you would like to receive updated information on Connecticut's economy throughout the year, be sure to sign up for our E-mail updates at http://www.osc.ct.gov/public/listserv/ or visit my website at www.osc.ct.gov