State of the State: Connecticut in 2011

This is the second of a ten-part series on the 2011 State of the State (SOTS) speeches in states with the ten worst projected relative budget deficits for FY 2012. Budget data is from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ (CBPP) recent budget report, and SOTS speech text is from Stateline. CBPP’s data on states’ FY 2012 budget deficits as a percentage of their FY 2011 budget is the benchmark for relative budget deficits.

According to CBPP, Connecticut has the ninth highest projected absolute budget deficit in the United States in FY 2012 equaling roughly $3.7 billion, and the ninth worst projected relative budget deficit in FY 2012, equaling 20.8% of its FY 2011 budget.

On January 5, 2011 Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy delivered his 2011 SOTS speech (full text available here). Gov. Malloy’s address primarily highlighted Connecticut history, and also included broad discussion of developing the state’s economy for the 21st century through technology (green tech, biotech, nanotech and stem cell). Below are the specific policy highlights of his speech:

  • Economic Development: Gov. Malloy proposed “aggressively developing” the state’s three deepwater ports. He also mentioned spinning off Bradley International Airport into an independent entity.
  • Government Reform: He advocated adopting generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to “resolve (Connecticut’s) out-of-control budget crisis, and retire gimmicks and one-time solutions,” and signed an executive order shortly after the speech requiring the state to follow GAAP principles. He also highlighted reducing the size of his office and the number of state agencies, in an effort to “re-conceive government.”

While Gov. Malloy did not use the word “tax” once his in speech, he recently proposed the broadest state tax increases in recent history. Gov. Malloy’s SOTS speech was light on specifics, and his recent tax proposals suggest that he prefers using tax increases to address the Constitution State’s FY 2012 deficit.

Fortunately, policymakers in Connecticut have many other policy options they should consider when balancing the budget. For more, see the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) State Budget Reform Toolkit and Reason Foundation’s Annual Privatization Report 2010: State Government Privatization section.