State Rep. Terrie Wood, R-Darien, Norwalk, recently joined her colleagues on the Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to evaluate Connecticut's continuing budget deficiencies.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes met with the state officials to present a "fiscal accountability" report, which outlined the various factors affecting Connecticut's budgetary and economic outlook for the next few years.

Connecticut faces a $365 million deficit this year and an estimated $1 billion shortfall for next year. The deficit is largely due to revenue shortages, increased Medicaid services and pension obligations.

After listening to Barnes explain the financial challenges facing Connecticut, Wood questioned how Connecticut can heal its economy.

"According to the report we received today, it is clear that we cannot sustain our spending levels, and we must adjust our current fiscal policies so we can start operating within our means again," said Wood. "It is evident that the tax increases that were passed to get us out of a deficit did not amount to what was projected, and we need to start looking at restructuring our programs and finding new ways to reduce our spending as safely as possible. I'm looking forward to working on a bipartisan solution to our budget during the upcoming special session."

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Wood represents the 141st General Assembly District, which covers Darien and Norwalk.