Comptroller's seal and letterhead


Contact: Steve Jensen

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today projected the state will end the fiscal year with an unappropriated budget surplus of $304.5 million.

Wyman's surplus estimate is about $44 million higher than her projection last month. The increase is mainly due to a $12 million jump in lottery receipts, about $12 million in additional savings on state programs, and because the state paid about $10 million less in tax refunds than was expected.

Of the $304.5 million surplus, $161.7 million will be used to fill the state's emergency Rainy Day Fund and the remaining $142.8 million will be used to pay down the state's bonded debt.

Wyman noted that while she supports reducing the state's $9.2 billion bonded debt - which is the highest per-capita in the nation - the $142.8 million payment does little to accomplish this goal in light of the $1.2 billion in new bond authorizations that were approved for Fiscal Year 1999.

Wyman compared the $142.8 million payment to paying off an extra $100 on a personal credit card while at the same time running up another $1,000 in charges. She said a better alternative would have been to use the $142.8 million to pay down some of the state's $6.4 billion in pension debt.

"Applying the payment to the pension fund would allow the state to earn double-digit rates of return, which makes better financial sense than paying off low interest bonds," Wyman said.

Investing the surplus in the pension fund would save taxpayers $660 million in lower state contributions to the retirement fund over the next 35 years, or an average of $20 million per year.

Wyman said she plans to seek a legislative change that will allow future surpluses to be directed to paying down pension debt.

Wyman also noted that the year-end surplus would have reached an estimated $587.5 million if about $283 million of it had not been previously appropriated, including $116 million for taxpayer rebates, $80 million for the state's Year 2000 computer conversion and $40 million in additional payments to towns.

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

For Immediate Release
August 3, 1998
Back to Comptroller's Home Page
Back to Index of Comptroller's Press Releases
To Monthly Letter to the Governor dated August 3, 1998