HARTFORD – April marked the 5th consecutive month that Connecticut has used borrowed bond funds, initially secured to pay for capital projects, to pay for daily operating expenses, a continuing practice that Republican lawmakers called “troubling.’’
Republicans said the continued diversion of borrowed cash to pay for salaries and other daily expenses masks the status of the state’s fiscal health and will likely cost the state millions more in interest payments, Republicans said. Since January Republicans have called upon State Treasurer Denise Nappier to address lawmakers in a public forum to fully explain the policy, something she has refused to do. Today, they renewed that request.
“Our operating cash is being spent faster than taxpayers can put it into state coffers, to the point where we are now depleting our borrowed cash,” House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. said. “Over the last year our cash on hand has dropped by 50 percent, from roughly $2 billion to $1 billion. Now the governor is proposing spending $222 million of that amount to cover this year’s budget deficit.’’
Gov. Malloy on Tuesday said that in order to mitigate the state deficit he would apply borrowed funds associated with the 2009 budget, but not allocated, to cover a portion of the deficit.
Cafero called that proposal “fiscally irresponsible” and the type of policy that led to the downgrade of Connecticut’s credit rating back in January.
“No family and no state can afford to live this way. This is not the Treasurer’s cash; it is not the Governor’s cash; it is not my cash. It belongs to the taxpayers and they have a right to understand what is going on,” Cafero said. “I once again appeal to State Treasurer Nappier to explain our situation in an open and public forum and offer suggestions as to how the General Assembly might act to put us on the right path.”