Budget director warns of ‘very treacherous terrain’ ahead

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes (Christine Stuart photo)
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes (Christine Stuart photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget director Ben Barnes told a group of advocates for children Tuesday that the two-year budget he’s preparing is challenging mostly because there’s so little he can change or control.

He said the spending everyone cares about in the budget, such as spending on children and education, are falling behind because mandated spending in other areas of the budget, such as pensions and debt service, are eclipsing them.

About 25 percent of the $17.5 billion 2015 general fund budget goes toward the state’s contractual or legally obligated fixed costs. That includes debt service, which is 9 percent of the budget at $1.6 billion, Barnes said. Another fixed cost is the annually required contribution to the state employee pension fund, which is 5.6 percent of the budget at $970 million. There also is the teacher’s pension, which is $1.18 billion.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


7 responses to “Budget director warns of ‘very treacherous terrain’ ahead”

  1. John Hamlin

    The state’s continued complete acquiescence to the whims and demands of the public employee unions has tied our hands. Unless we get a Wisconsin moment, this will continue. Forget the one percent — they don’t take money directly out of our pockets — it’s the government class and the public employee unions that are killing the middle class in this state.

  2. Non partisan

    Good business sense
    In his first term he borrowed more money for operating expenses, and did nothing to control pension costs. He then gave the teachers unions a phased in free ride on income tax on their pension in return for instituting common core.

  3. LWitherspoon

    @John Hamlin

    I wish it were true that the one percent don’t take money directly out of our pockets. Gov. Malloy’s plan to spend $115 million of our tax dollars to bribe the world’s largest hedge fund to move from Westport to Stamford sure felt like the one percent taking money directly out of our pockets. When the deal fell apart we were left to wonder whether it was due to local Stamford opposition to the illegal removal of that city’s boat yard, or if $115 million of our tax dollars isn’t a big enough incentive for those one percenters, considering Connecticut’s other issues.

  4. Piberman

    Time for a more capable budget director – one who brings solid senior level private sector accomplishments to the job. Gov. Malloy is savy enough to know he can only be as successful as his team of core appointees.

  5. John Hamlin

    @LWitherspoon — if we are stupid enough as a state to write checks out to one percenters, then we need new political leadership. Or we have the leaders we deserve.

  6. EveT

    When Gov Malloy began his first term, the state’s finances were a shambles because previous administrations had been fudging and finagling for many years. Restoring GAAP was a high priority and this was addressed. Previous administrations also locked us into employee agreements premised on an ever-expanding economy and rising stock market, and yes these have turned out to be unsustainable.

  7. John Hamlin

    Malloy made a deal that locked in compensation increases and guaranteed no layoffs through 2018 — can’t blame that on his predecessors, much as they may try. He and the entire legislature are just puppets for the public employees and their unions.

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