New Year, same problem at State Capitol: red ink

Snowy State Capitol (Report-It/ Robert Caroti)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a new year, but the problem remains the same at the State Capitol; an ever growing amount of red ink.

The new state budget has only been on the books for two months, and is already about a quarter of a billion in the hole. Legislative leaders say they will delay any action on the deficit till at least the middle of the month, but will come back to Hartford later this week to vote on a stop gap plan to save the Medicare Savings Program.

55-year-old Christina Rotharmel, of Groton, says she fell down over the holidays, but didn’t go the doctor because she’s afraid she can’t afford the co-pay or deductible. She’s one of the 113,000 Connecticut disabled and seniors that are still waiting for the promised extension of the Medicare Savings Program.

Related Content: Official projects Connecticut budget deficit at $224 million

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote on a fix to the program this Friday that will extend the benefit til June 30th.  “It’s making administrative cuts, things that are wasteful, things that don’t affect services that the people of the state of Connecticut need,” says House Minority Leader, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby).

Klarides and the other top leaders from both parties say they found these fixes during bipartisan negotiations three weeks ago. Things like cutting overtime,   Adds Klarides,  “A lot of the changes are really consolidations of managers and consultants, things that we all fight for on a regular basis because we believe government is too big.”

But the Governor’s office argues that many of things Klarides is talking about will result in further cuts to other services and will just add to the ballooning $222 million dollar deficit.

The leaders from both political parties are also in agreement that they will wait until after January 15th to address the full current year deficit.  And the are in agreement to wait until after the new legislative session starts on February 7th fix the rest of the Medicare Savings Program.  “We will deal with the July 1st year for the Medicare Savings Plan as we move forward with the other fixes that we’ll have to make and the other deficits we will find,” said Klarides.

So Klarides and the other leaders are resigned to the fact that they will likely be addressing red ink again for most of the new year.

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