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December 21, 2015

State projecting narrow budget surplus

OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes (left)

The state Office of Policy and Management, which oversees state spending, is projecting a FY 2016 surplus of $200,000. That comes after massive spending cuts and revenue adjustments by the General Assembly earlier this month.

OPM secretary Benjamin Barnes said in a memo to State Comptroller Kevin Lembo that budget projections changed because of action by the General Assembly. At a Dec. 8 special budget session, the legislature made spending cuts of $195.8 million and revenue adjustments of $135.7 million to the General Fund Budget totaling $331.5 million.

Barnes said the largest change in revenue was $109.2 million from delaying transfers to the special transportation fund and the municipal revenue sharing account. Both stood to benefit from a half-percent increase in the sales tax.

The spending side of the state budget was reduced by $81.1 million, Barnes wrote, but impending deficits are anticipated from the chief state medical examiner’s office, office of early childhood, and the public defender services commission because of increased demands in service. Turnover and hiring delays are expected to have a positive impact on the bottom line.

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