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Lamont signs 2-year, $43 billion state budget into law

HARTFORD — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday signed a two-year, $43 billion state budget into law, noting the plan was passed on time and puts the state “back on track” financially.

The Democratic governor OK’d the bill just days before the state’s new fiscal year begins on July 1.

“To me, it was very, very important that we get this budget done on time,” he said, adding how he heard that from local education and municipal officials that are planning their local budgets. “It’s a budget that I think gets us back on track, holds the line on spending, holds the line on taxes. It gives people a great deal of confidence they know what’s going on.”

Lamont also praised the plan for closing a projected $3.7 billion deficit, not increasing income tax rates and setting aside $2 billion in the budget reserve fund.

House Republicans, however, pointed out in a tweet Wednesday how the budget increases other taxes by nearly $2 billion over two years. While much of that increase includes a tax on hospitals, the document extends the sales tax to more goods and services, including dry cleaning and interior design services. It also imposes a new 1% tax on prepared foods and beverages.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, argued the budget has various issues, such as “unrealized union savings and artificially increased tax revenues” to claim the budget plan is balanced.

“This budget does not bring economic certainty to grow jobs,” she said, adding how it also “places more burdens on the hard-working men and women of Connecticut.”

In a release, the governor noted that the budget:

  • Increases funding for education and workforce development;
  • Protects the most vulnerable communities and services;
  • Does not reduce municipal aid funding for any town and city in the state, giving mayors and first selectmen security and stability when adopting their own respective budgets; and
  • Includes the largest rainy day fund in state history

“On the day I took the oath of office, we were looking at a $3.7 billion deficit, and today I am proud to say that we’ve closed it without an increase to tax rates and while ensuring that the safety net remains intact for the most vulnerable in our communities,” Governor Lamont said. “For years, instability in the state’s finances has resulted in slow growth and volatility in our economy – and this budget was adopted with a focus on providing the foundation from which our state can grow. When the fiscal year closes, Connecticut will have the largest rainy day fund in history and this budget maintains and grows our reserves, providing reliability and predictability for our taxpayers, businesses, and those looking to invest in our state well into the future.”

You can read more on the budget here

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