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Governor Lamont gives insight into first proposals for state legislature

SOUTHBURY — Governor Ned Lamont is introducing his first three big proposals to the state legislature at the end of the month. He said he is “not going to waste his shot” at his four years as governor.

“There will be some screaming and we don’t have a choice,” said Gov. Lamont. “We cannot keep paying those accelerating fixed costs.”

Gov. Lamont said the state of Connecticut is in the middle of a financial crisis and needs to go on a debt diet, even if that means some people won’t get the rubber stamp on their bond requests.

“I’d like to see us cut bond appetite by $500 million a year,” he said. That’s a 40% reduction in capital spending.

State Sen. Len Fasano said in a statement, “Governor Lamont’s comments calling for a ‘debt diet’ are encouraging and long overdue. State bonding should only be used for essential functions of government and long term investments that add value to our state. I look forward to continuing this important conversation about how we can invest in Connecticut’s future at the same time we work to better control borrowing and reduce debt.”

Lamont addressed the Regional Waterbury Chamber of Commerce and said his main priorities are economic development and technology.

He plans laying out three proposals for the state legislature on February 20. One is aimed at making the DMV more efficient by extending the time between driver’s license renewals from 6 to 8 years. Registration renewals would get bumped up from 2 to 3 years.

“It’s going to reduce the lines in a dramatic way and make a near term difference for people,” he said. “That’s my priority.”

A second proposal would extend the number of government entities that are allowed to partner with businesses in the private sector, specifically with the Department of Transportation. A third proposal could make Election Day a state holiday.

“I think having Election Day as a holiday makes people vote,” said Lamont. “I want people to vote. I want people to have a stake in the success of the state of this country.”

We asked Governor Lamont how these three proposals connect directly with his main priorities.

“The election holiday doesn’t have much to do with the fiscal crisis, but obviously talking about the pensions and we’ll get more specific about that, talking about healthcare. We’ll get more specific about that. Talk about our bonding obligations. We’ve gotten quite specific about that,” said Lamont. “Those are the building blocks of our fixed costs, which are growing so much faster than our economy and revenues.”

Amazon may not make its new headquarters in New York. The Governor is now trying to bring them to Stamford. He tweeted Friday that he has already reached out to Amazon.

“Why not? As governor I think I would be derelict not to let Amazon know they have an alternative in the New York metropolitan area. We would greet them happily, and quickly, and efficiently,” said Lamont.

Governor Lamont will lay out his full budget proposal to the state legislature on February 20.

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