Gov. Ned Lamont unveils his two year budget proposal a week from today, and despite the economic damage of the pandemic, and the state’s crippling long-term obligations, he’s doing it from a relative position of strength. Connecticut has been the beneficiary of higher-than-expected tax revenues, which have wiped out the short term budget deficit, and the state still has $3.1 billion socked away in the “rainy day fund.”

But many advocates and progressive Democrats want to spend down reserves to help state residents struggling through the pandemic, and provide tax relief for poor and middle class residents. And long-term debt and other obligations mean the state’s short-term rosy picture is just a little bit cloudier.

CT Mirror budget reporter Keith Phaneuf breaks down the status of the state budget in a conversation taped as part of our series of legislative preview events. We talk about some Democrats’ plans to tax wealthy residents, and Lamont’s rejection of that idea. And Keith explains just how deep a hole the state is facing – down the road.

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John is CT Mirror's Director of Events. A well-known and highly-regarded radio personality and moderator, he divides his time between CT Mirror — where he heads up our events program and serves as a multi-platform consultant — and the NPR / PRI program Science Friday. Previously, John was executive editor of the New England News Collaborative and the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England. He also appeared weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR’s news roundtable program. His 25 years in public media also include serving as vice president of news for Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, host of WNPR’s Where We Live, and regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He was twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show.