Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had a warning Thursday for legislators considering enacting a temporary budget to guide state finances after July 1 in lieu of the real thing.
Do it right or don’t do it at all.
The governor “will not consider any budget — short or long term, that adds to our fiscal challenges in the coming biennium,” Malloy spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said.
With Connecticut just nine days away from entering the fiscal year without an approved spending plan — for the first time since 2009 and just the second time in 15 years — gridlocked legislators are seeking to buy more time to craft the next two-year budget.
And with the current budget set to end on June 30, they are considering adopting a plan to guide the state for two to four weeks after that.
What should that mini-budget look like? One common suggestion has been to simply extend the outgoing budget for one extra month.
But there’s a problem.
Analysts say that approach, over 12 months, would run up a whopping $2.3 billion deficit — an amount greater than half-a-year’s sales tax receipts.
Even worse, the administration says, wasting a month or two bringing this projected deficit into reality also would mean Connecticut would have just 10 or 11 months left in the rest of the new fiscal year to cut spending and raise revenue to balance finances — effectively intensifying the pain.
If legislators want to do a mini-budget, Donnelly said, it has to be based on the same painful choices needed to craft a regular plan to balance state finances over the long haul.
“If members of the General Assembly choose to exacerbate our difficulties and kick the can down the road, they should be prepared to justify that fiscally irresponsible choice to their constituents,” Donnelly said.