HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Sworn into office for a second four-year term, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont called on state legislators to pass a “meaningful middle-class tax cut,” saying it’s time for the state to refocus on economic growth and opportunity now that the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic is fading.
In his State of the State address, the Democrat urged lawmakers to work together to “maintain fiscal discipline” and make the state more affordable.
“The next four years should focus more on recovery, less on rescue, less need for lifelines, and more focus on ladders,” the governor told a joint session of the General Assembly. “Keep our economy growing, making sure that growth means a ladder to opportunity for everyone regardless of background or zip code.”
While offering no details, Lamont described his proposed “meaningful middle-class tax cut” as “a reduction in tax rates, which the state can afford and makes your life more affordable.”
He is expected to release his budget proposal next month.
Lamont, who turned 69 on Tuesday, has said he wants to consider ways to build upon past efforts to make the state more affordable, pledging in November “to make more policy changes like these” after signing legislation to extend the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax holiday and other provisions.
WATCH: Gov. Ned Lamont delivers State of the State address
Lamont took the oath of office at the Gov. William A. O’Neill State Armory before holding his State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the General Assembly. His running mate, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who presides over the state Senate, also was sworn in for a second term.
Besides Lamont and Bysiewicz, the state’s all-Democratic contingent of constitutional officers — Attorney General William Tong, Comptroller Sean Scanlon, Treasurer Erick Russell, and Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas — also took the oath.
WATCH: Inauguration Ceremony at the State Armory
In a brief speech, after he took the oath, Lamont referred to the challenges he faced guiding the state through the pandemic, as well as the challenges his predecessor, former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was on hand for the inauguration, faced in December 2012 when the shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
“Life is sometimes what happens when you’re making other plans,” said Lamont, who said he was quoting John Lennon. “It could be the knee-knocking recession. It could be a horrible shooting tragedy. It could be a pandemic. And in our job as governors is to get through it, think about Connecticut as our family, and work together as one.”
The elected officials received a 19-gun salute and military helicopter flyover from the Connecticut National Guard. Javier Colon, accompanied by the Connecticut National Guard 102nd Army Band, performed the national anthem. A student group from the Ana Grace Academy of the Arts Elementary School in Bloomfield also performed.
2023 Connecticut Inaugural Ball
On Wednesday night, the inaugural ball was held across the street from the state Capitol at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford.
The black-tie event ran from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. The Bacon Brothers — actor Kevin Bacon’s band with his brother, Michael — and Greenwich-based DJ April Larkin provided entertainment.
Capitol Report Digital Show
Ahead of the inauguration ceremony, Tom Dudchick and the Capitol Report team — former Connecticut Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R), former Connecticut Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D), Republican strategist Liz Kurantowicz and Bloomfield Mayor Danielle Wong (D) — offered insight as the 2023 legislation session began.
Watch the special in its entirety in the video below.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.