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advocacy community education
10
Registrants for the January 20 Fairfield
CONNection knew the federal and
state fiscal pictures didn't look good.
Those dismal pictures came into even
sharper focus with the perspectives
provided by a group of local and
national experts that included:
CSCPA President and Marien +
Company, LLC Managing Partner
Marcia L. Marien, CPA;
The Concord Coalition National
Grassroots Director Jeffrey S.
Thiebert
;
Comeback
America
Initiative
Founder and CEO and former U.S.
Comptroller General David M.
Walker
, CPA; and
CSCPA Membership and Finance
Director Julie McNeal, CPA, a mem-
ber of former Governor M. Jodi Rell's
Other Post-Employment Benefits
(OPEB) Commission.
Bringing Connecticut's Financial
Position Out of the Shadows
CSCPA President Marcia Marien
opened the session with a walk-
through of the state's financial state-
ments in light of a projected $3.5 billion
deficit on a $19.1 billion annual budget.
"[The CSCPA] wants to stay purely
within an analysis of the financial state-
ments, and keep politics out of it. We
have been going downhill for decades,
and the people to blame are us ... we
want more and more services but we
don't want to pay for them," she said.
Marien described her dialogue with
legislators. "One state senator said
`We're in a recession, everybody's
doing bad.' Well, not really," Marien
countered. "We are one of only four
states with a negative fund balance.
Our debts are four times greater than
our assets. If a state could go bank-
rupt, we're there."
Federal Fiscal Policy is
Unsustainable: Examination of the
Causes and Consequences
The Concord Coalition's Jeffrey
Thiebert presented a sobering view of
federal spending and revenue, laced,
however, with some optimism.
"Last year we borrowed about 37
cents of every dollar of revenue; the
government can borrow very cheaply
right now, and it is doing so," Thiebert
explained. "[To balance the budget
and pay down the deficit], everything
needs to be on the table. There is no
sacred cow.
"Previously, you got your Social Security
benefits at age 65 ... because you were
expected to die at age 64 it was actu-
arially sound," he quipped. "But today,
the population segments of ages 65+
and 85+ are the fastest growing seg-
ments of our population ... I'm just set-
ting the baseline of doom."
Fairfield CONNection Provides Perspectives on
Local and National Fiscal Floundering
CSCPA's `Fixing Our Future'
Initiative Continues
By Mark Zampino, CSCPA Public Affairs Director