Addressing Misperceptions Regarding S.B. 1162, A Bill to Implement Consensus Revenue Forecasting in Connecticut

Back • Publication Date: June 4th, 2009

Authors: Jeffrey M. Tebbs

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This issue brief addresses some misconceptions about a Connecticut bill that would establish a formal mechanism to forge consensus on the state revenue forecast, when the executive and legislative branches fail to reach consensus. If the Office of Policy and Management and the Office of Fiscal Analysis cannot reach consensus before specific deadlines, the bill authorizes the Comptroller to issue the revenue forecast that will govern budget proposals from both the Governor and the General Assembly. Some have questioned whether the bill might be a partisan attempt to manipulate the revenue forecast. However, since the bill restricts the Comptroller’s options in adopting a revenue estimate to the range of possibilities raised by the Governor’s budget office and the legislature’s non-partisan fiscal office, it is challenging to discern the partisan advantage to be gleaned from this legislation.

While reasonable professionals acting in good faith can disagree on a revenue forecast, allowing the General Assembly and the Governor to proceed with two different projections is untenable. As this legislative session has aptly demonstrated, significant differences in the revenue outlook have the potential to derail the entire budget process.

Finally, although Governor Rell has released a supplemental list of spending cuts, one-time revenue increases, and borrowing, her overall budget proposal is apparently still designed to close a estimated deficit that is over $700 million less than the deficit that the Office of Fiscal Analysis has projected since February. The partial resolution of this year’s problem after 115 days of disagreement only highlights the need to institute consensus revenue forecasting to prevent this dilemma in the future.