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Contact: Steve Jensen

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today projected that the state will end the 1999 fiscal year with a budget surplus of more than $119 million, and said she will again propose that most of it be returned to taxpayers through a permanent tax-rebate program.

Wyman said she will introduce legislation next year to permanently mandate that any surplus be used to issue rebates, pay down the state's debt and ensure that the emergency Rainy Day Fund is full.

Under her current projection of a $119.4 million surplus, 1999 rebates would be approximately the same amount as the one-time rebates issued this year: $150 for families and $75 for single filers. Her estimated 1999 surplus figure is based almost entirely on continued extraordinarily strong revenues generated by the income tax.

"The success of the 1998 rebate program makes it clear that Connecticut taxpayers deserve and should expect to share in the benefits of a surplus built on the income tax," Wyman said. "When our tax system generates extra revenue, most of that money should go back to the taxpayers instead of being spent by the government."

Wyman said she also plans to introduce legislation that would expand the state Treasurer's authority to direct debt-reduction payments either to pay off bonds or to pay down the state employees' pension fund liability.

Under current law, debt-reduction payments must go toward reducing Connecticut's bonded debt. But Wyman said the Treasurer also should have the discretion to pay off the state's pension fund liability, which could give the state a better return on its money if financial markets and interest rates are favorable.

"The Treasurer needs the authority to direct our money to the area that provides the most bang for the buck," Wyman said. "This is a common-sense approach that could ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars."

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For Immediate Release
October 1, 1998

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