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CT Mirror: Lamont pitches big tax cuts in first budget of new term

Keith Phaneuf, CT Mirror

February 08, 2023 - 2 minutes

Gov. Ned Lamont presented lawmakers Wednesday with a $50.5 billion two-year budget that delivers more than $500 million in annual tax relief, topped by the first major cut in state income tax rates in Connecticut history.

The governor’s plan would boost education aid to municipalities while folding general government assistance to towns into one omnibus grant. But public colleges and universities would get less than they insist is needed to stay afloat as emergency pandemic aid expires.


Lamont also could receive pushback regarding municipal aid — both from his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly as well as from cities and towns.

The new budget would maintain a program first approved in 2017 to increase the Education Cost Sharing program significantly by 2027. Lamont specifically wants to increase the $2.2 billion ECS program by $46 million annually starting July 1. Grant funding would rise to $91 million above current levels in the second year of the biennium.

But Democratic legislators argued last month that the state has resources to accelerate the ECS expansion even more.

Connecticut currently holds a record-setting $3.3 billion in its rainy day fund, an amount equal to 15% of the General Fund — the maximum allowed by law. And the current budget is on pace to close June 30 with a $3.2 billion surplus, the second-largest in state history.

Lisa Hammersley, executive director of the School and State Finance Project, also said the governor’s budget doesn’t adequately respond to the needs of school districts across Connecticut.

“Students are struggling to recover from the pandemic’s impacts on their learning and mental health,” Hammersley said. “School districts are on the edge of a catastrophic fiscal cliff that may require them to lay off teachers, counselors, and paraprofessionals. Businesses are having difficulties finding skilled applicants to staff over 100,000 unfilled jobs.

“These challenges are not going away and require real solutions, right now.”

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