Gov. Ned Lamont addressing the Connecticut legislature. Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Last week was Gov. Ned Lamont’s big budget reveal, when he attempted to satisfy hundreds of competing interests with billions of dollars the government doesn’t have.

His $43 billion proposal was an attempt to thread the needle between closing a huge budget deficit and investing in progress, paying for better education and encouraging school economies, limiting borrowing and bringing tax relief to hospitals, and finding money to improve Connecticut’s transportation network while keeping his campaign promises about highway tolls.

It remains to be seen whether he will succeed –or wind up stabbing his own hand.

Lamont’s initial effort to promote a plan for highway tolls – by publishing an op-ed on the subject on a Saturday – was seen as the stumble of an inexperienced administration. Similarly, his announcement that he will seek wage or benefit concessions from state retirees while taking other cost-saving measures was met with their stern refusal to make any more sacrifices in the taxpayers’ behalf.

Manchester resident Cathy Hopperstad comes dressed to express her opposition to highway tolls. Paul Stern / CT Mirror

The jury is still out on how the public will react to his proposal to tax sugary drinks, electronic cigarettes and plastic bags. Then there are the proposals to repeal the estate tax or perhaps impose a statewide property tax on motor vehicles. And, of course, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities need more money if they are to stay out of a $57 million hole.

Lamont is not deterred, however, and in fact expects to take a collaborative approach on piecing together the complicated budgetary jig saw puzzle.

He wound down the week with the selection of three new executives to be part of a racially diverse administration he described during his election campaign…. And he made a quick trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with other Democratic governors and skipped a chance to dine with President Donald Trump.

The arsenal of weapons prosecutors say Christopher Paul Hasson was planning to use on politicians and media personalities. U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland

In the nation’s capital, of course, things were not exactly hunky-dory.

For starters, the FBI arrested an avowed white supremacist charged with plotting to use an enormous arsenal to murder a long list of TV journalists and prominent Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal, for his part, said when the time comes he expects Congress will subpoena special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the U.S. elections if Attorney General William Barr doesn’t release it voluntarily.

Other members of the Connecticut congressional delegation had other concerns, including where to stand on the hottest issue of the 2020 election campaign: Medicare for All.

State Attorney General William Tong took his stand on Trump’s national emergency by joining a multi-state suit to block the president from redirecting billions of taxpayer dollars to pay for the border wall that Congress declined to fund.

Paul has more than 40 years of reporting and editing experience at newspapers in New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut. He worked 22 years at the Hartford Courant in various editing roles including as deputy state editor, assistant editor of Northeast Magazine, and as an associate editor at Courant.com. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. A trained chef, he and his wife own and operate a bed and breakfast in an historic home in Mansfield.

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6 Comments

  1. CT probably has a long wait until it elects a Governor determined to resolve CT’s decade long fiscal, economic and pension plans. Or a Governor keenly interested in revitalizing our major cities among the most depressed in the nation. More of the same characterizes the Governor’s new budget with additional taxes in the CT Democratic fashion.

    CT’s business community will continue to give CT a wide berth and the Exodus will only gather up steam. CT voters will likely learn that CEO success doesn’t automatically transfer into resolving decades long problems. Indeed, CT’s fiscal, economic and pension problems are by now so deeply imbedded in CT’s economy and politics that resolution may take decades.

    So far none of CT’s major political figures understands that economic growth takes place in major cities competing in new high tech industries. So CT remains a strange amalgam of the NY dependent Gold Coast and Rhode Island – a largely service economy. Without major cities CT continues to be outdone by vigorous Boston and NYC. CT spends billions on public and college education. Yet its leaders have issues with freshman economics. Our future is all about our cities or lack of them.

  2. Lamont’s approach to the budget guarantees CT will remain #1 in income inequality because there are no proposals to increase taxes on the wealthy individuals or non-profits, no plan to increase the Estate Tax, legalize and tax marijuana or to tax hedge funds. This is to be expected of a Greenwich multi-millionaire. Tolls are an additional tax on the people of CT. Get ready for a taxpayer revolt.

    1. Our way to revolt is simply to leave the state. We’re wealthy enough to take the hit in our Hamden home ($475k to $350k in 24 months) and move. Lots of our friends are planning to move as well. No need to be party to this fiscal mismanagement any longer.

    2. Tax the wealthy enough and they will vote with their feet. Its already happening (see Sam’s response below) and will continue to do so with each tax and spend fiscal cycle. If enough of us leave the state and enough business is chased away, that doesn’t portend well for our tax and spend utopia in Connecticut.

      I don’t see how squeezing blood out of a stone (eg taxing non-profits) will help matters either. That will only serve as a cut to services for the needy and will result in some non-profits going out of business. Non profits do many of the same jobs done in state Government in a much more cost-effective way. We don’t have to go broke paying their staff outrageous salaries and retirement benefits either.

  3. Its business as usual in the land of steady habits. With one party rule, we have more taxation and spending to feed the state worker retirement beast. Instead of increasing income taxes, we now have new and exciting ways to tax Connecticut’s citizens. Since we get the Government we deserve, this cycle will repeat itself for another 10 plus years until we have taxed and spent ourselves into “prosperity.”

    This is a going out of business plan for the state and the exodus of people and business will only continue. There’s no reporting on that part of the story. Its a sad tale of the decline of this once great state.

  4. The only folks not being proposed to pay more taxes are the top 1
    percent. The working class and middle class ae being asked to close the
    $3 billion dollar deficit. So why is Lamont in the Democratic party?

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