Connecticut governor announces $31.5 million in cuts to help close budget shortfall

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday announced $31.5 million in spending cuts, making a second round of reductions to address a projected budget deficit of more than $120 million.

The cuts affecting more than two dozen state agencies follow $54.6 million in reductions ordered by Malloy in November.

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Malloy's budget director, Ben Barnes, said he might need to take further steps to keep the budget in balance. Barnes has said the state will balance its books by June 30.

"We will continue to scrutinize state spending, and if necessary, the governor will take additional steps, or propose additional steps to the legislature, to keep this year's budget in balance. Those decisions will be made as we develop next year's budget, which will also require some very tough choices," Barnes said.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides told the governor during a lunch meeting on view for reporters Friday that the state needs to move to cut the budget.

"This deficit we have now is not going in the right direction," he said.

The new round of cuts includes $6 million expected from the Judicial Branch, $2.3 million from operating expenses at the University of Connecticut and $1.5 million from the Connecticut State University system.

The state comptroller says the projected deficit has grown in part because of lower-than-expected gas tax collections, caused by falling gas prices.