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2020 General Assembly session begins with State of the State Address

Politics

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Lamont laid out his vision for the 2020 legislative session during his State of the State Address on Wednesday.

Several groups around the state weighed in on the Governor’s address Wednesday afternoon, including the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance:

“For more than a dozen years, community nonprofits have seen the need for services and the cost of providing them increase, while state funding fell behind. We understood the state was in difficult fiscal times, and community nonprofits stepped up to provide vital services with limited dollars. But it’s 2020 and Connecticut has had multiple years of surplus revenues, and projections show the coming years will be strong. The state’s savings account has more money than ever before…while we appreciate that the governor has not proposed spending cuts, and that he favors continuing the Nonprofit Grant Program, we are disappointed with the recommendation not to increase basic funding for vital community programs. Flat funding, when costs and demand rise, is the same as a cut – you simply can not provide the same services unless funding keeps up. We’re asking the Governor and the legislature to appropriate $461 million in new money over the next five years to restore funding that community nonprofits have lost since 2007.”

Gian-Carl Casa, President & CEO of CT Community Nonprofit Alliance

In his first budget, Governor Ned Lamont presented ‘a path forward’ – with objectives like bringing back property tax relief to homeowners. Asked whether that idea will become a reality this year, Governor Lamont says he will continue tax credits for first responders and veterans and pointed to the elimination of the hit retirees used to pay on social security.

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The $19 billion state budget for this calendar year gives the governor a road map to run state agencies and provide a quality of life to each resident. At last check, the money coming in is less than what is being spent, which means there is a budget hole.

The comptroller’s office reported last month the budget hole is an estimated $60 million. The hole created by the rising cost of state employee health care and big refunds for tax programs.

But the governor is not phased and says the current budget hole will be easily fixed.

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“You’ve got to understand. We have over a $300 million surplus this coming session. But with the volatility cap all that money has to go to pay down pensions. In an operating basis – we are going to get that done with out raising any tax rates.”

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