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State Budget Not Yet Fixed

Hartford Courant Editorial

January 24, 2012

Ben Barnes' attack Friday on Moody's Investors Service for downgrading Connecticut's credit rating was excessive and not helpful.

Citing Connecticut's high debt -- brought about by reckless borrowing over the years -- and depletion of the state's cash reserves, Moody's bumped the state's credit down a notch from Aa2 to Aa3.

The downgrade could make future borrowing more expensive for the state and could send the wrong signal to businesses seeking to relocate.

Moody's, said Mr. Barnes, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget chief, is "wrong in its analysis of the state's finances and wrong to change Connecticut's credit rating." The downgrade, Mr. Barnes needlessly speculated, was "intended to satisfy [Moody's] internal corporate need to deflect attention from their historic lack of credibility."

Mr. Barnes' pique is understandable considering the Malloy administration's game-changing, politically difficult attempts last year, plus a pension-funding plan announced Monday, to finally put the state's fiscal house in order. The state's fiscal situation is far more stable today than it was a year ago. But it's not altogether fixed.

And Mr. Barnes is not going to help fix it by lobbing bombs at Moody's.

With the credit downgrade and the specter of budget deficits -- due to lagging projected revenues reported last week -- at the end of the current fiscal year and the next, more work needs to be done.

If revenues continue to lag, spending cuts and other savings to balance the budget are in order. Now is the time to claim those savings promised but never specified that were part of the administration's agreement with the unions.

No more tax hikes, however. The biggest tax increases in the state's history that were part of the Malloy budget are quite enough for now.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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