Despite Connecticut’s status as one of the wealthiest states in the country, its fiscal health is in rapid decline. A hefty debt load has left the state without a budget for two months as lawmakers squabble how to best deal with the reality of “high taxes, outmigration, falling revenues and $50 billion of unfunded pension liabilities.”
Governor Malloy has an executive order ready to go into effect that will reduce or eliminate funds for localities and schools if the state government cannot come to a consensus. Lawmakers are staring down a multi-billion deficit for the next two years so austerity measures could be both drastic and necessary.
According to Reuters, “one major factor for the debt load is municipal spending. Some $23 billion of outstanding municipal debt has also constrained spending. Bondholders must be paid ahead of most other expenses like non-essential services and payments to vendors….Connecticut has borrowed for decades to fund school construction, whereas nearly all other states typically borrow at the local level for those projects.”
So here we have a debt-ridden state — quite possibly the worst of all 50 states — suffering from financial woes for years now with only bandaid solutions. Sufficient tax revenue is not the problem; zealous overspending and fiscal mismanagement is. Unfortunately, Connecticut is one of several states facing the same issues; state insolvency is going to get worse in many places before it gets better.