27 January 2012

Math Is Hard - Ben Barnes Bites Back


(HARTFORD, CT) – Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes released the following statement on the latest Office of Fiscal Analysis report:

I think the first point to make is that it should be reassuring to taxpayers that the Republicans are arguing with Governor Malloy over how many billions of dollars his policies have saved, as opposed to how many billions of dollars his policies have created.  That’s a welcome change from the past 16 years.

Nevertheless, it is disappointing that the Republicans continue in their never-ending attempt to score political points against Governor Malloy, especially on the issue of the state’s finances.  Given all that Governor Malloy has done to clean up the financial wreck he inherited from Rep. Cafero, Sen. McKinney, Governor Rowland, and Governor Rell – a $3.5 billion deficit, early retirement incentives, borrowing for operations, underfunding pension payments, etc. – the criticism is kind of ironic.

In this past Wednesday’s installment, Rep. Cafero claimed that there is a “$145 million deficit hole.”

That is incorrect.  The analysis showing that gap does not take into account significant available revenue, more than $100 million in the Reserve for Salary Adjustments account.  Beyond that, Governor Malloy has repeatedly assured our citizens that he will manage to the bottom line -- there will be no deficit, period.  And the state will end the year in the black.

The Republicans can ask these questions any way they want, and they can use all sorts of interesting theatrics in the process, but the answer will always be the same thing: we are confident in OPM’s numbers and the calculations provided by the State’s pension plan actuary.

While we respect the capabilities of the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, they are not actuaries; their analysis of the pension fund is flawed.  The House minority should refer questions about the actuarial funding of the pension plan to actuaries.  We have relied on the plan’s actuaries and we are confident in their findings, which show billions of dollars in long-term savings to taxpayers as a result of plan changes negotiated by the Administration last summer.


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