Comptroller: Connecticut on track for $28 million deficit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is on track to end the current fiscal year with a $28 million budget deficit, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo has projected.

In a recent letter to Gov. Ned Lamont, Lembo said much of the projected deficit, about $24 million, stems from fewer than anticipated retirements of state employees. Lembo and Lamont are both Democrats.

The fiscal year ends on June 30.

Lembo’s report to Lamont examined other aspects of Connecticut’s economy, including housing, population and employment figures. He noted how sales of single-family homes declined 7.18% in November 2019, compared with November 2018, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. New listings were down 7.15%, while the median listed price increased nearly 2% to $270,000.

His report also showed withholding receipts grew by 8.4% in fiscal year 2019, compared with the previous fiscal year. Lembo said that was “especially significant” because the withholding portion of the state’s personal income taxes makes up the largest single revenue source for Connecticut’s general fund, the state’s main spending account.

Citing the state Department of Labor’s preliminary Dec. 19 employment report, Lembo noted that Connecticut gained 900 net jobs in November, for a total of nearly 1.7 million. Connecticut has now recovered 85.5% of the jobs lost in the recession of 2008-10.

“DOL notes that the three-month moving average job growth remains positive since July, but the annual growth rate of jobs remains modest,” according to Lembo’s report.

The report also cited U.S. Census Bureau data, which estimated that Connecticut’s population declined by 6,623 people between 2018 and 2019, a small decrease compared with the prior year’s estimate. The state’s population now stands at 3.56 million.

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