Note: This quiz was originally published on February 18, 2019.

Gov. Ned Lamont must propose a new state budget on Feb. 20 to balance finances for the next two fiscal years.

Legislators are expecting a blueprint that not only will avert major projected deficits, but will jump-start debates on taxes, municipal aid, education, social services, health care and transportation.

And behind all of that are surging retirement benefit and other debt costs expected to plague state finances for years to come.

So before you read Governor Lamont’s first budget proposal, here’s a quick quiz to bring you up to speed on the key fiscal issues facing legislators at the Capitol.

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Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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  1. How many other readers are as shocked as I am by the fact that State government borrows $345.5 million each year to fund municipal school construction? While Mr. Phaneuf does not tell us what percentage of the construction costs are borne by municipalities, I believe it is true that all State taxpayers bear the cost of paying off 100% of those State bonds.

    My guess is that if local taxpayers had to bear the cost of school construction in their towns, we would see (1) many fewer new schools being built; (2) much more reuse of existing school buildings; and (3) many more regional schools.

    These all seem to be good outcomes; I’m guessing is that the only reason we don’t enjoy them is that local school projects are part of the pork barrel projects that state legislators deliver to their constituents.

    Perhaps it is time for Governor Lamont to roll up his sleeves.

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