|WYMAN PROJECTS $34.1 MILLION SURPLUS,
SAYS ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN NOT DISCOURAGING BUYERS
Also Urges Government to Control Spending, Adopt Performance-Based Budgeting
|Contact: Steve Jensen|
State Comptroller Nancy Wyman today projected that the state will end the 2000 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $34.1 million, an estimate more than $19 million higher than the most recent one made by the Governor's budget office.
Wyman said the main reason for her more optimistic projection is the performance of the state sales tax. The sales tax is expected to produce more than $3 billion in revenue by the end of the year.
Wyman said the strong sales-tax revenue shows that buyers remain confident about the economy, despite recent indications of a slowdown from last year's extraordinary growth. She also noted that the most recent economic projections are slightly improved after a sluggish second quarter.
"Coming into the new fiscal year, I had some real concerns about how the economy would affect the very strong revenues we saw last year," Wyman said. "I still see signs of a slowdown, but overall I think the sales tax and income tax will deliver respectable revenues."
The income tax is again expected to bring in an exceptional $4 billion by year's end.
Still, Wyman again issued a warning that state spending must be brought under control. Even with the Governor's hiring freeze and mandatory reductions placed on state agencies, she said, spending is expected to end the year $116.7 million higher than was originally budgeted.
Wyman pointed out that the non-partisan state Office of Fiscal Analysis is predicting mounting deficits after this fiscal year.
"State government is spending at more than double the rate of inflation and is dangerously close to exceeding the spending cap for the third straight year," Wyman said. "Connecticut clearly needs a better system of spending controls."
Wyman will urge the General Assembly next session to adopt performance-based budgeting, a system that would detail for lawmakers which programs are working and which are not. That specific fiscal information would allow for spending cuts to be targeted at programs that are not making economic sense, she said, rather than relying on across-the-board reductions.
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
November 1, 1999
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