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Conn. Senator Calls For Careful Scrutiny To Edge Out Budget Deficit In 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) - Many Republican lawmakers in Hartford, Conn., say that in 2015, they will want to call attention to the state's worsening financial crisis.

State Sen. Scott Frantz, ranking member of the Finance Committee, says predictions are that Connecticut will wind up with a nearly $3 billion defecit over the next two fiscal years. He sees only one remedy.

Conn. Senator Calls For Careful Scrutiny To Edge Out Budget Deficit

"Instead of increasing our budget for the next two fiscal years by about  10 percent each year, I think we need to go zero base budgeting with no increases," he told WCBS 880's Conecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

Sen. Frantz says agency heads must do careful scrutiny to ensure no one depending on state assistance feels an impact.

However, he said, "Our goal is to make sure everybody realizes how bad things are right now.  How dangerous our physical policies are so that we can avoid hitting the brick wall at the end of the road."

The senator believes there is enough inefficiency to tighten up a budget for one or two years.

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo says Connecticut is on track to end the current fiscal year with a $31.6 million budget deficit.

In a letter to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released Friday, Lembo says the state's deficit has receded by $13.2 million from last month's estimate. He credited a decrease in state spending in October and November.

Malloy announced in November he was trimming $54.6 million from numerous state agencies to balance the state's approximate $20 billion budget. Malloy's budget director also called on agency heads to reduce their expenses and limit new hiring to only essential personnel.

Lembo also reported advance retail sales were up 5.1 percent in November from last November. Auto sales experienced the strongest growth. Gas stations experienced the strongest sales decline due to falling prices.

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