Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D) indicated Thursday he plans to sign the $24 billion Fiscal Year 2022-23 state budget passed by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

Democratic representatives and senators likewise hailed the fiscal plan, noting the nearly $600 million in tax reduction it contains. 

“With families struggling and Connecticut’s finances in the black, House Democrats led the way in the legislature passing one of the largest tax cuts in state history,” the Connecticut House Democratic Caucus said in a statement. “Budget adjustments for the upcoming fiscal year include $600 million in tax cuts for Connecticut residents. This includes historic tax relief for parents, retirees, workers and property owners.”

Republicans countered by observing that most of those decreases will expire within the year and that GOP lawmakers proposed a $1.2 billion tax cut which Democrats rejected.

“My first and initial reaction to what we’ve witnessed over the past couple days in the winding-down of this legislative session was nothing more than disappointment and being underwhelmed, quite frankly,” Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Monroe) told reporters at a press conference at the State Capitol Building in Hartford. He said it was particularly regrettable that Lamont and his party resisted more significant tax reduction in light of inflation having become greater now than at any point in the last four decades.

Standing with Kelly at the Capitol Building, House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) mentioned some elements of the state budget that he welcomed, including criminal justice reforms as well as mental health measures designed to mitigate psychological harms of COVID-19 and the related lockdowns. Overall, however, he called the legislation a “missed opportunity.”

He particularly lamented the fact that funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act will vanish after the next fiscal year and the Lamont administration has no plans regarding how to readjust the budget going forward. 

Tax provisions in the budget include a longer pause of the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax that the governor signed in March; $750 credits to families with children; broadening of the property tax credit from $200 to $300; a freeze in car taxes for many individuals; a hike in the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent to 41.5 percent through the end of the year; and an exemption of retirement accounts from the state income tax.

Additional tax reductions GOP lawmakers pushed for included ending the highway-use tax and slashing sales taxes through the end of 2022.

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Connecticut Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ned Lamont” by The Office of Governor Ned Lamont. CC BY-SA 4.0. Background Photo “Connecticut Capitol” by Shah Ronak S. CC BY-SA 4.0.