“This is not a deficit…It’s a shortfall” – Governor Malloy 11-15-2012

No, this is not a segment on the Daily Show, although it is certainly worthy of what Jon Stewart and his team of award winning writers come up with.

Let’s take a step back, a deep breath and try this again…

What we do know is that Connecticut is facing a “fiscal problem.”

The Governor proposed, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a state budget into law.

Now, state revenue is coming in below what was projected.

And state expenditures are higher than what was projected.

Those two developments create a problem.  For now let’s call the problem a “gap.”

On November 1, 2012 the Malloy Administration said the gap was $60 million dollars.

In the days after the election, the Malloy Administration said the gap was actually bigger than $60 million.

At first they said that revenue had dropped by about $52 million from a report that was released last April.  However, the state budget that passed and was signed into law wasn’t based on the report that they were referencing, but instead, it was based on the amount of revenue in the report plus an additional $75 million in revenue.

So while revenue was $52 million below the April Report, it was actually $128 million below the budget.

But before people get too confused about the $52 million versus the $128 million, they can rest assured that neither number was an accurate description of the size of the gap.

That is because the real gap, at the time, was over $300 million.

To make a long story shorter, the Malloy Administration then admitted that this year’s real gap was $365 million.

And then, the next day, they admitted that the gap was $365 million for this year and $1.1 billion for next year.

Perhaps most impressive is that fact that all of this occurred between November 1 and November 15, which, by the way, is sometimes called a fortnight.

And then Governor Malloy spoke to the media, and as report in various media, including the Hartford Courant, we learned that, “Malloy refused to use the word “deficit” and instead said the current situation is a “shortfall.”

The Courant story added, “’This is not a deficit,’ Malloy told reporters Thursday at the state Capitol. ‘It’s a shortfall.’”

Now some, including House Republican leader Larry Cafero, have been speaking out about these developments.

Cafero told the Courant and others, “For the governor to come out with a press release using the figure $52 million is wrong. At worst, it’s deceiving and deceitful. Where does he get $52 million when the report itself says $128 million?”

Representative Cafero went on to tell reporters, “For the governor to put out a press release on $52 million is the least transparent, most deceitful thing I’ve seen…”

When asked about the accuracy of Mr. Cafero’s comments, Governor Malloy responded…

“He’s wrong. Representative Cafero has expressed his desire to become governor of the state of Connecticut. You folks are going to have to get used to putting everything in context, and I’m sure that that will appear in your papers every time you report what he has to say. Having said that, he’s wrong. I don’t know how else to say it.  The data is the data.  The data becomes available when it’s available.”

While we are discussing semantics, we should probably add that the Connecticut Constitution and state laws require that the state go out and borrow the funds necessary should it end the fiscal year in the red, often referred to as a deficit.

So if we want to be really technical, Connecticut can have a projected deficit but it can’t have a real deficit because a real deficit would mean that the State ended the year in the red, which would trigger the state going out to borrow money to fund that shortfall, which means there would no longer be a gap, shortfall or deficit.

I’m not sure if that strengthens or weakens the positions taken by Governor Malloy and Representative Cafero, but I’d hate to see us squander much more time talking about whether the gap is really a deficit or a shortfall.

Finally, as to Governor Malloy’s observation that ” The data becomes available when it’s available,” considering I’m not trained in quantum physics, I simply don’t feel qualified to comment on his observation.

  • LaurieLima

    The game with the terminology and playing with the English language I got used to after being forced to deal with Politician Christopher Stone (and his “associates”)..not only do they twist the language but they are on a permanent “outgoing’ information only mode and they talk until your ears bleed.

    • jonpelto

      Such a great description. From now on I’m call all of us here the “ear bleeding” club.

      • LaurieLima


  • Linda174

    Well, then, I guess Malloy is not a leader, just another poitical shyster.

    Maybe the holidays sales from the liquor store Sundays will bail us out.
    Another great Malloy ploy.

    Can we start a countdown clock..kind of like the Bush one…how many more days?

  • jschmidt2

    Got to admire his chutzpah. But don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for him.

    • jonpelto

      I voted for him…. Sorry.

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • Apartheid first

    Cafero for Governor? Whether he’s running or not, that has nothing to do with his question about budget figures. Does Malloy only answer the softball questions lobbed at him by the Dems? Well, I got news for Malloy–when it comes to gaps, he has the Earth’s biggest expert on gaps working for the state right now–Stefan Pryor! So why don’t we just move the world’s worst ed commissioner from that post and make him budget director or lower manhattan and ct state capital director, and he can work that same magic as he did in NYC, post 9/11.
    Poor children and their families are to blame for the achievement gap, as we all know by now. So who is to blame for the income gap? It’s not as if this has anything to do with that first gap.

    • LaurieLima

      “Poor children and their families are to blame for the achievement gap” are you being sarcastic it is always hard to tell “tone” on the internet.

      • Linda174

        Yes, she is.

  • joej gonzalez

    The toll both are coming!!!

  • JMC

    I cannot even begin to express my outrage at Malloy and the Dem legislature for perpetrating this election fraud on all the citizens of CT. This what Totalitarian govt’s do. There would have been fewer Dem reps elected had this budget disaster been known by the electorate before it voted. Malloy and his Dem allies know this very well. But the kicker is that Dem reps and senators will secretly thank Malloy for masking the disaster, whatever pious dribblings they may mouth to the contrary in front of cameras. Meanwhile, Malloy and his creature Barnes will try to further plunder teacher retirement and health funds, most of which teachers themselves put in. The coward Malloy doesn’t seem to play his smelly games with the state workers; they have the numbers and the votes to throw him out.

    • jonpelto

      We’ll see, but my guess is the state employees have had quite enough of him. He has turned his back on every constituency that put him in office, including state employees.

      • sharewhut

        But the union bleadership (and their sycopantic toadies) loves him, and will undoubtedly be out rousting the shelters to get out the vote- with a van ride andp a submarine sandwich

        • sharewhut

          (comp ‘blinked’ before thought finished) ,,,van ride with promise of a submarine sandwich, possibly a ride to more than one polling station..

        • jonpelto

          Ha! Good one!

    • Linda174

      And look now he is in sunny California..spending more of our money. Like they really need or want his advice:


      • jonpelto

        Advice: “don’t do what I did”

      • JMC

        The NGA has for years now attempted to form its own, parallel, federal gov’t. Their first order of business is to form a cartel to enforce reciprocal collection of state sales tax collection on purchases made via internet. For example, if a CT resident buys something from CA, the vendor in CA collects CT tax and sends it to CT, and vice versa across the country. Google Streamlined Sales Tax to see the cast of people who want to put their hands in your wallet.

        • JMC

          I just came back from the official Streamlined Sales Tax site and I see that they have now masked their real intentions with gobbledygook. Better to read what Wikipedia says about it.

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