Otherwise known as – When is $170 million really $123 million?
Or in this case – When Governor Malloy and his administration seek to mislead Connecticut’s media and citizens about his cuts to the Connecticut state budget.
Connecticut State Government is facing a $365 million budget deficit this year and a projected $1.1 billion dollar shortfall next year.
Yesterday, the Malloy administration released a list of $170 million in cuts that Governor Malloy had ordered. Malloy’s Budget Chief, Ben Barnes, along with Malloy’s chief advisor then spoke to the media about the cuts the Governor was making. .
Following these developments, the Harford Courant headline read: Malloy Orders $170 Million in Budget Cuts In Tough Economy. CT Newsjunkie reported “Malloy Rescinds $170M, Safety Net Impacted, the Connecticut Post went with Gov. Malloy to cut $170 million from budget, The New Haven Register’s headline was Gov. Malloy announces $170 million in Connecticut budget cuts (with list) and WFSB Channel 3 ran with Malloy announces $170 million in Connecticut. budget cuts.
But it turns out the Governor DID NOT make $170 million in budget cuts.
It wasn’t until Keith Phaneuf and the CT Mirror started digging that the real story unfolded.
The CT Mirror headline went with a more accurate headline; Malloy shrinks deficit with cuts to social services, colleges.
So what is the real story?
While it was true that the Malloy administration released a list of $170 million in cuts, it turns out that $47 million of those cuts were budget reductions that Malloy had already implemented and, thus, had no impact on the $365 million deficit.
When the Connecticut General Assembly adopted, and the Governor signed, this year’s $19.1 billion dollar budget, it was “balanced” by a requirement that the Governor “hold back” $136.3 million in spending. In budget language this is called a required lapse. Think of it this way. Your young child asks that their allowance be raised from $9 to $10 a week. You agree that they can have $10 a week, but they must start each week by giving you $1. They agree. They think, or at least can tell their friends that they get $10 a week, when in fact they still only get $9.
Legally, the Governor must hold back those funds. Of the $170 million Malloy announced, $47 million was already part of that lapse, meaning those cuts have absolutely no impact on the magnitude of the present deficit.
Now some of you readers may be surprised, but the administration that claims to be the most transparent in history failed to inform the media that their list of $170 million in cuts actually only cut the budget by $123 million.
Of those “real” cuts, about $70 million was taken out of vital health care and social service programs, while another $25 million was cut from Connecticut’s public colleges, universities and student financial aid. And that was student financial aid that thousands of students were expecting to receive this coming January.
The actual document the Malloy administration released failed to note the fact that nearly 30% of the savings was achieved by double counting cuts that had already been made.
Furthermore, neither Malloy’s budget chief nor his chief adviser took the trouble to tell the media the truth during their press conference.
That is why all the media outlets ran with headlines and stories that were inaccurate.
There are a number of excellent stories about the impact the cuts will have. Just click on the headlines in the text above.
But first, start with the CTMirror story in order to appreciate the deception the Malloy Administration has engaged in. The CTMirror story, written by Keith Phaneuf, Arielle Levin Becker and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas is here: http://ctmirror.org/story/18305/malloy-hits-social-services-higher-education-he-slashes-deficit-one-third.