HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Is Connecticut’s economy in a recession? The debate rages on among candidates running for governor.

A News 8/The Hill/ Emerson College poll found that the economy was voters’ top issue for the upcoming election. And when it comes to candidates, it’s on their minds, as well.

The Republican ticket for governor listed nearly a dozen examples of what he said is Connecticut’s struggling economy — from high utility rates, to high taxes.

“Everyone goes to the grocery store,” said Laura Devlin, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. “You see your bill. It used to be $100, now it’s $300.”

The National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity that is spread across the economy and that lasts more than a few months.”

Candidates cited a U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report that showed that Connecticut’s person income growth in the second quarter, was last in the country at 2.2%. The national average was 5.8%.

They also mentioned companies, like M&T Bank, that have eliminated jobs. In addition to the bank, which cut 747 positions, Shop Rite Waterbury eliminated 203, Sema4 cut 239 and Signify Health lost 489.

“We are losing marquee companies,” Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor, said. “People can’t afford to be here. Our economy is in free fall.”
The Connecticut Department of Labor reported job gains in July and August, with 8,700 and 2,900, respectively.

“These numbers are volatile,” Gov. Ned Lamont, the Democrat incumbent, said. “Look at the last 12 months…That gives you an idea it looks like we’ve got a way to go. There are some recessions, but we’re better than the average bear, or better than most other states right now.”

The governor said he has cut taxes by $630 million and paid billions in debt.

Republicans counter that claim by stating Lamont raised taxes by $2 billion, refused to lower the diesel tax and roll back a meals tax.

“We’re making progress every day,” Lamont said. “But you have got to be cautious. And you look at what could be a recession. That’s why I’m not, you know, handing out the rainy day fund. I think we’ve got to be cautious, make sure we’re prepared.”
Republicans said they will take $2 billon of the rainy day fund and cut taxes saving the average family $2,000.