State Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo said earlier this week that the state's mushrooming budget deficit has jumped by another $50 million, bringing the official deficit figure to $415 million.
However, because of an accounting technicality, Lembo's office has not factored in to that figure Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's recently ordered budget cuts, the Connecticut Mirror reported.
When those cuts are calculated, the website reports, it brings the actual deficit closer to $290 million.
In an effort to lower the deficit, Malloy last week announced $170 million in budget cuts, the maximum allowed by a governor without needing legislative approval.
State Rep. Vincent Candelora, who ran unopposed in November for the 86th House District seat and will soon represent voters in Durham, is a member of the legislature's Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.
The following is a brief Patch Q&A with State Rep. Candelora:
P: Are you confident that the Governor is taking the necessary steps to fix Connecticut's budget shortfall?
VC: I am confident that the Governor will meet the requirements of the law and provide the cuts necessary to meet our budget shortfall of $415 million established by the Comptroller. I believe that these cuts are the beginning of a long, difficult process.
P: In your opinion, what steps need to be taken to balance the budget?
VC: The deficit reflects Governor Malloy's failed proposals. Less than eighteen months ago, Governor Malloy proposed a budget of shared sacrifice, which included the largest tax increase in Connecticut history and unachievable spending cuts. This budget has made Connecticut less competitive, has slowed our economic recovery and plunged us into more deficits. Not only do we need to balance this budget by reducing government services as a result, we must make long-term structural changes to fundamentally change our budget practices. I would propse that we stop using the volitale revenue generated from the stock market toward our operating budget. We should begin to earmark any revenue increases in this investment income toward paying down our pensions and unfunded liabilties, rather than using that money to grow government.
P: What are your thoughts on raising taxes to cover the shortfall?
VC: Governor Malloy imposed the highest tax increase in state history and in Fiscal Year 2013, our revenue has declined by over 1 percent from last year. In these tough times, any additional tax increases only will result in less revenue and Connecticut will be even more uncompettitive.
Patch Associate Regional Editor Eileen McNamara contributed to this report.