budgets

Connecticut Senate Republicans / Creative Commons

Listen live on Wednesday, March 25 at 9:00 am.

Connecticut's fiscal future seems to be upon us and it's bleak. Last year, budget chief Ben Barnes said, "We have entered into a period of permanent fiscal crisis in state and local government." As lawmakers debate and discuss the state budget, they're learning that Barnes' quote was not hyperbolic.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our panel discusses the on-going budget negotiations and what's on the cutting block. Also, another chapter in the John Rowland/Lisa Wilson-Foley scandal comes to a close as both were sentenced to prison time.

Diane Orson / WNPR

At least two groups are urging the Connecticut General Assembly to protect services that improve parent engagement and that help municipalities plan for early childhood education. 

Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

Connecticut's energy and environmental commissioner says budget cuts proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy could lead to reduced hiring, closing bathrooms at some state parks, and restricting trash collection.

Jessica Hill / The Associated Press

A new report says Governor Dannel Malloy's plan to save the state money by reducing the number of people on Medicaid will harm low-income families. 

Jeff Kubina / Creative Commons

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have been dominant forces in the gambling world since entering the market in the 1990s. With that success came revenue for the state of Connecticut. But neighboring states are getting in on the game, opening their own casinos seeking many of the same patrons. 

As Republican leaders in the House and Senate unveil their proposed budgets this week, here is the most important thing to remember about the federal budget: It isn't really a budget.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Already facing shortfalls in the budget he presented last month, Governor Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that it’s now in the hands of state lawmakers.

“The law is very clear, the budget I have to present is balanced, and it is balanced. We’ve met our legal requirement,” Malloy said, speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live.

Chion Wolf

The first few months of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term as governor have been very, very busy. He’s rolled out major initiatives to take on our transportation problems, and to create a "second chance society" to change our system of incarceration, punishment, and re-entry after prison.

Malloy has also had to deliver a budget to lawmakers that includes deep cuts prompted by a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. This plan has gotten criticism from social service providers on the left for cutting too much into vital plans, and from Republicans on the right for not cutting government deeply enough. There's even dispute about whether the budget is balanced or comes under the so-called "spending cap."

Mamata.mulay / Creative Commons

The legislature's transportation committee heard testimony Wednesday on two issues: highway tolls, and ways to ensure that all money deposited in the special transportation fund will go specifically for transportation improvement projects -- the so-called lockbox.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A miscalculation announced by state budget chief Ben Barnes this week has pushed over the state's spending cap by $54.5 million, putting the proposed budget in the red only a few days after it was announced by Governor Dannel Malloy.

creative commons

Governor Dannel Malloy announced his two-year budget plan last week, and everything has been a mess ever since. The proposed budget would hurt social services and cause potential layoffs at UCONN, a situation that drew star basketball players to testify at the Capitol.  

On Tuesday, we learned that a SNAFU with accounting sets Malloy's proposed budget more than $50 million over the state's spending cap for the next fiscal year. That might be more cuts. OPM Secretary Ben Barnes issued a formal (somewhat confusing) apology.  

DMahendra / Creative Commons

The head of a state-funded watchdog agency is wondering what proposed budget cuts could mean for the future of environmental oversight in Connecticut. In question is the future of the Council on Environmental Quality, which for more than 40 years, has monitored everything from air to wildlife conditions in the state.

It's a relatively small line item in the budget: about $180,000. That money funds two full-time paid positions at the CEQ. There's also a nine-member board that collects no salary.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's often said that the way Connecticut pays for public schools is one of the strangest and most complicated in the country. There have been lawsuits, task forces, and now, once again, the governor has said that he wants to give school districts the same slice of the pie they got this year. 

Joe Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said that he's happy the governor doesn't want to cut spending, but that education simply needs more.

Sage Ross / Wikimedia Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed legislation requiring officials at nonprofit hospitals to disclose financial benefits they would gain if the hospital is bought by a for-profit entity.

The Journal Inquirer reports that Malloy's bill would require the disclosure as part of the approval process.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly's budget-writing committee is beginning its work on a response to the two-year, nearly $40 billion tax-and-spending proposal offered by Governor Dannel Malloy.

The Appropriations Committee was scheduled to hold its first public hearing about the Democratic governor's plan on Tuesday evening. Additional public hearings and budget presentations from state agencies were planned throughout the week. 

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

Governor Dannel Malloy has unveiled his biennial budget, a document aimed at closing yawning gaps projected in state finances in the next two fiscal years.

The governor wants to achieve this with a package of spending cuts and a reform of tax codes that will net the state government more revenue. “The budget I present to you is filled with tough choices,” the governor told the legislature. “All told, my proposal contains more than $590 million in cuts to the current services budget.”

Most of those cuts come in the areas of social services and higher education. While there will be no layoffs of state employees, the administration will implement what it termed an “aggressive” hiring freeze, aiming to shrink the workforce by attrition by several hundred positions over two years.

Stephan Ridgway / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy is proposing paying less to bury the poor. 

Malloy told legislators in his budget address that balancing the budget means hard choices. "The vast majority of these cuts are choices that, under ideal circumstances, Connecticut would not have to make," he said.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy released the final details of his new two-year state budget on Wednesday. 

The Democrat has already warned that the budget is going to be “tough,” but he hopes it will provide relief to the state’s middle class with a slight state sales tax reduction. Republicans have been critical of his additional plan to eliminate the an exemption to the sales tax on up to $50.00 of clothing.

The new fiscal year beginning July 1 is predicted to face a $1 billion deficit. The following budget year is also facing a projected $1 billion in the red. 

On WNPR's Where We Live, Keith Phaneuf of The Connecticut Mirror called the governor's budget "a tired exercise in fiscal semantics." Promised cuts aren't coming, he said, and the governor is creating "a new definition of a tax hike" while still trying to say he "didn't really increase taxes." 

Ryan King / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy revealed a 30-year $100 billion transportation plan Wednesday, preluding his annual budget presentation to the General Assembly later today, according to The Hartford Courant

Malloy will release a $10 billion buildup for the next five years, the Courant reported, to get several transportation projects started. These projects, however, are focused primarily on design rather than construction. 

Gloda/iStock / Thinkstock

The state legislature's higher education committee is exploring the possibility of adopting an outcome-based funding model for Connecticut's public colleges and universities.

Thirty states currently tie funding of higher education to performance indicators: things like graduation rates, course completion, and retention of minority and low income students. The goals and amount of funding vary widely from state to state.

North Dakota, for example, ties nearly all of its base funding for higher education to number of credit-hours completed by students, while Illinois ties less than one percent of its funding on institutional outcomes.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy delivers his budget speech on Wednesday, an event we've anticipated for weeks.

The address is expected to include details about Malloy's big transportation plans for the state, and how he plans to balance the budget while changing the sales tax system.

In our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we preview his speech while looking at the big picture: What do budget addresses mean, and what are the messages they send?

Today's edition of The Wheelhouse is in two parts. Part one is a preview of the budget speech. Part two is a broadcast of the budget address in its entirety and a wrap-up with WNPR reporters.

Mixed Bag for Gov. Malloy's Budget Proposal

Feb 17, 2015
Sage Ross / Creative Commons

In preparation for his two year state budget proposal, Governor Dannel Malloy has warned Connecticut residents the budget is "tough."

During an interview with WFSB-TV's "Face the State" broadcast on Sunday, Malloy said he will be proposing to reduce the state sales tax from 6.35 percent to 6.2 percent on November 1, then dropping it to 5.95 percent by 2017.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new legislative session means new dynamics at the state capital, especially with so many new leaders. Can parties from both sides of the aisle sit down together to hash out our budget problems?

Governor Dannel Malloy has shared some of his priorities, including a big push on the transportation front.

This hour, we sit down with Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and new minority leader Themis Klarides to hear their priorities for the upcoming session and about how the legislature will handle the budget deficit.

Updated at 12:03 p.m. ET

President Obama says he wants to work with Congress to "replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America," in remarks that came hours after the release of his $3.99 trillion budget proposal, which is already drawing criticism from Republicans.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut may apply for a federal disaster declaration for the towns most heavily affected by Tuesday’s blizzard, but Governor Dannel Malloy has said he’s not sure whether it will succeed.

Malloy visited Stonington in the far southeastern corner of the state Wednesday to see the cleanup efforts for himself.

Like many towns in Eastern Connecticut, Stonington was clobbered with more than two feet of snow and heavy gusting winds. 

When President Obama meets with House Democrats tonight during their retreat in Philadelphia, officials say he'll lay out the details of his budget proposal, which will include reversal of large cuts to federal spending instituted in 2013.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced cuts to social services and health care in his second round of emergency rescissions to cut down the state budget deficit.

Malloy’s office projected a $121 million deficit last week. On Monday, the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated the deficit is closer to $202 million.

The Wheelhouse Digs Out

Jan 28, 2015
Gov. Dannel Malloy Office / Twitter

The blizzard has moved on from Connecticut and we're moving on with our regularly scheduled programming. Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will recap the week's news, from Governor Malloy's response to the storm, to last week's bizarre capitol cafeteria summit regarding the state budget. Also, one Hartford-based company that benefited from a state economic development deal is in trouble.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

***Due to the snow storm, this show with Governor Malloy will be re-scheduled.***

For the first time since his re-election, Governor Dannel Malloy returns to WNPR’s studios to discuss his plans for this legislative session. Near the top of his priority list is the state budget, which faces a nearly $121 million deficit. Malloy has also proposed some plans to improve transportation in the state, including the widening of two major highways.

You can join the conversation and ask questions of Governor Malloy. Call us live between 9:00 to 10:00 am on Tuesday, January 27 at (860) 275-7266. You can also leave questions in the comments section on this page, or on Twitter and Facebook.

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday began accepting tax returns electronically, and paper returns will begin to be processed at the same time. In a statement, the IRS reminded taxpayers that filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

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