Wyman: $167M surplus came from fiscal gimmicks

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman certified a $166.9 million surplus this afternoon for the fiscal year that ends on June 30.

The latest monthly figure, up $61.9 million from the comptroller’s May forecast, also stands $27.6 million above the surplus target the legislature and Gov. M. Jodi Rell are counting on to help balance spending in the $19.01 billion budget adopted last month for 2010-11.

Wyman said her latest surplus projection for this year’s $18.64 billion budget stems largely from modest improvement in state income tax receipts, which jumped in recent months as the state regained about 8,900 of the estimated 103,400 jobs it lost since the recession began in March 2008.

“We still have a very long way to go before we can call it a recovery, but the good news is that most experts were not expecting any job growth at all this year,” Wyman said.

Income tax receipts, which were projected in January to finish 6.3 percent below the level built into the current budget, now are expected to approach $6.7 billion, exceeding the target by 2.7 percent. Sales tax receipts have shown some positive signs, but still are expected to finish below budgeted projections, Wyman said.

The comptroller added that earlier deficit forecasts, which peaked on March 1 at $518.4 million, largely were eliminated largely by good fortune – in the form of additional federal aid – through the deferral of payments into the state employee pension fund, or by one-time raids from special accounts, rather than through spending cuts or tax increases.